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Winnipeg Sea Bears Release MVP Teddy Allen: What’s Next?

What could be seen as some of the biggest news in CEBL history, the Winnipeg Sea Bears released 2023 Most Valuable Player Teddy Allen today. In what came as a shock to almost every single basketball fan in Manitoba, the Sea Bears released a statement today on the matter, while also holding media availability with Head Coach and General Manager Mike Taylor, as well as CEO of the team Jason Smith. Below is the teams initial statement:

HC, GM Mike Taylor And CEO Jason Smith’s Comments

I had the opportunity to attend said media availability and chat with Taylor and Smith along with others about this unanticipated news. Coach Taylor spoke to the media first, emphasizing that this was on-court and off-court issues that started in the game against the Niagara River Lions. Allen had been ejected from the game early in the second quarter. Taylor continued by saying that this behaviour and other circumstances were on going and kept popping up over the last 10

days. He stressed that he himself, the front office, as well as teammates had been trying to get him back “within the team” to no avail. Taylor said that Allen had stepped outside of the expectations and values the organization possesses, that being one of the main factors on his release. He even had a meeting with Allen last week, clearly defining what was expected out of him, and the other standards he was to follow. When asked if this has always been an issue, Taylor commented that Allen had “something to prove” last year and did not display any of the same issues. He said that Allen was committed to the team aspect and played “within the system” that coach Taylor had created. He also mentioned that he did allow “Teddy to be Teddy” more so last year, because of their roster makeup in 2023, needing him to shoulder more of the load. He emphasized that this was more of a recent problem as it seemed Allen was engaged in the team structure to begin the year, but it deteriorated soon after their win in Brampton over the Honey Badgers. Taylor doubled down on saying that the entire organization had tried to have a “heart to heart” with Allen, even saying that owner David Asper got involved, along with forward Chad Posthumus, someone close to Allen. Coach Taylor made it clear throughout his availability that they tried everything they could to “reel in” Allen, but because of the organizational team mentality that it was time for him to go, stating that “no one individual is bigger than the team and we need to support our team and respect our team.”

When CEO Jason Smith had the opportunity to speak to the media, he defended his Head Coach and General Manager and the decision he made today, stating that they support any decision that he makes, especially one that follows the values and expectations of the organization. Smith and the rest of the front office believed that releasing Allen was the best and most positive way to move forward with the circumstances that had been happening on and off the court. Smith also relayed the same message that he himself and many others had been speaking to Allen over the course of the last 10 days or so about his behaviour. When asked if their current losing streak was a factor, he said they feel/hope that this decision will make the Sea Bears better on the basketball court, but did not want to single out any one person for their four game losing streak, this had to do with larger issues that were becoming distractions, while causing low locker room morale.

What’s Next?

We are all wondering, what is next for the Winnipeg Sea Bears, who are currently on a four game losing streak. Coach Taylor stressed that this move was to better the team and hopefully get them back to winning ways, playing more so as a team and working as a unit. Taylor used many examples of on the court arguments Allen was having with coaches, players, and off the court in the film room or other scenarios. Both he and Smith stated that Allen was becoming a distraction with his antics, while also bringing down locker room morale with his actions. It seemed to me that Allen was trying to make it all about himself, rather than it being about the team. My belief is that during their loss to the River Lions, Allen was becoming frustrated with how the play calling was going, not with the ball in his hands every single offensive possession. I believe that led to him becoming “out of structure” as coach Taylor called it, and no longer listening to the coaching staff, even players, for offensive or defensive play calls, fighting them on what he was or wasn’t going to do. My belief is that their current losing streak was only magnifying the issues. We don’t know exactly what was happening behind the scenes off the floor, but we can imagine it was becoming a problem for everyone and just an extension of what we were seeing on the floor. Coach Taylor did say when asked that they will be reaching out to their contacts and possible players to fill out their now vacant third American import roster spot. There was no mention of who it would be, or when it could happen, but it is encourage news that they are going to try and move forward from this rough patch. We will find out on Wednesday if the Sea Bears will be able to get back on track, as they take on the Vancouver Bandits at home in what could be seen as a must-win game.

If you are wanting to see the full availability, check out Joey Slattery’s full length video below:

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