Basketball: Amaechi sparks off salary debate

The England captain John Amaechi's readiness to return to the Budweiser League for the remainder of the season, from the rich pickings of continental basketball, has reopened the debate on the domestic salary cap which restricts the clubs' total wage bill.

"Something has got to happen to get these top players back into the English game," the London Towers' coach, Kevin Cadle, said. Towers are among those trying to sign Amaechi after the Italian club Kinder Bologna released the 6ft 10in centre and paid up his contract for the remainder of the season.

Amaechi is one of seven foreign-based players in the England squad which assembled in London last night for three European Championship games, in Denmark on Wednesday and at home to Spain next Saturday and Ukraine on Wednesday week.

Cadle said: "I got a call from the club management on Friday saying we couldn't do a deal. To get John under the cap we'd have to release one or two players and that would be too disruptive."

Amaechi and Greece-based Steve Bucknall trained with London on Saturday. Cadle said: "These are front-rank international players and we have to get them back to England because in the main we have secondary English players in the League."

The options for England's leading internationals are restricted not only by the cap but also by the cheaper Americans who dominate league rosters at up to five per team.

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