Australian guard and former NBA champion Matthew Dellavedova has re-affirmed the popularity of the NBL by signing with Melbourne United on a three-year deal (Photo: Cleveland Cavaliers)

The NBL's growing popularity has increased with the boom signing of Matthew Dellavedova by reigning premiers in Melbourne United.

A major recruiting coup has finally been unearthed, with reigning NBL premiers Melbourne United announcing the signing of experienced NBA guard Matthew Dellavedova.

A member of the 2016 NBA winning roster at the Cleveland Cavaliers alongside superstars like LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, the Victorian has finally returned home, He brings back with him a wealth of experience to Australia’s biggest basketball league.

The three-year deal will see one of the most successful Australian basketballers in recent times on home soil for the near future, and will help bolster the popularity of the NBL ahead of the 2021-22 season.

A clause between ‘Delly’ and United means the guard can continue exploring his free agency options in the NBA, but if he fails to find a suitable home, he will suit up for Melbourne next season.

“I am really excited to sign with Melbourne United and come back to the NBL,” Dellavedova said.

“It’s a great team with a winning culture and some great teammates that I’ve loved playing within the past for the Boomers.

“I want to thank the club for being flexible and giving me the opportunity to explore NBA opportunities in free agency.”

‘Delly’ celebrates in his time with NBA team Cleveland, as he leaves teammate Colin Sexton (right) for a stint at Melbourne United (Photo: Cleveland Cavaliers)

United coach Dean Vickerman was rapt with the announcement, as the return of such star power can only result in increased attention to the growing NBL competition.

““It is huge – for our sport, for this league and for our club,” Vickerman said.

“To have Delly back home in Victoria, playing in front of the Melbourne United fans – I think it is something that we should all be really excited about.

“He’s going to bring everything that we are looking for in that position. Elite-level competitiveness, hustle, grit, grind and passion. He is also an excellent facilitator, with his ability to pass the basketball he will make everyone else around him even better.”

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The former Cleveland and Milwaukee point guard has made a habit of being tenacious and tough throughout his eight-year NBA career that boasted over 450 games.

His dedication to whichever organisation he pledges allegiance to, including the Australian Boomers squad in international competitions, will only increase the size and strength of the NBL.

Already a growing competition, recent arrivals such as now-Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball and the emergence of Geelong local Jock Landale has added a buzz to the league.

But the certified experience and cult-figure presence of Dellavedova will only take the NBL to a new level, as his ability to impact the league’s reigning premiers will only draw more eyes to their games.

A Maryborough local, ‘Delly’ was quick to set his sights on returning home and giving back to the NBL in his own press release.

“Melbourne is close to family and my hometown of Maryborough, and I have always wanted to come back here and play at some point,” he said.

“I’m glad to make the announcement today that when that time comes, I’ll be pulling on a United jersey.

“The NBL is a quality league that continues to evolve and has a lot of respect around the world – I’m excited for the challenge and continuing to help grow the game of basketball in Australia.”

With Dellavedova now setting his sights on helping the Boomers claim a gold medal at the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games, hype continues to surround the upcoming NBL season, especially if the likes of ‘Delly’ will be running the floor and generating increased interest at John Cain Arena.

Dellavedova’s signing is the highlight of a recent recruiting boom in the popular NBL competition, as many United fans will be waiting with fingers crossed that the Australian league gets an added touch of class for the upcoming 2021/22 season, which promises to be the competition’s biggest yet.

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