Brisbane Heat have tabled a major offer to the Australian allrounder Marcus Stoinis in an effort to lure the out-of-contract 28-year-old away from the Melbourne Stars.
In a proposed multi-year deal believed to be worth about AUD 200,000 (USD 156,000 approx) a season, Stoinis would join Chris Lynn and Brendon McCullum among the Heat's roster of big-hitters - the latter pair have been nicknamed the "Bash Brothers" for their long-ball exploits.
The Brisbane team is believed to have room in their salary cap that Melbourne Stars lack, while the dimensions of the Gabba, with its short straight boundaries and fast, true pitch for BBL games, are considered attractive to most batsmen. Perth Scorchers, where Stoinis is based after moving back home to Western Australia in mid-2017, are not thought to be in contention to sign him.
The Stars retain some hope of keeping Stoinis on their books, as they work to refresh their own list following a humiliating season in which they propped up the bottom of the BBL table. With Kevin Pietersen and Luke Wright departing and Peter Handscomb also out of contract, a degree of change to the BBL club's on-field roster is expected, given the MCG-based team's high expectations and the crosstown rival Melbourne Renegades reaching this year's semi-finals.
There is also the question of how much Stoinis will play for Australia in coming years. He is currently part of both the ODI and Twenty20 squads and has been mentioned as the most likely all-round alternative to Mitchell Marsh in the Test squad, despite struggling with the bat in the past two seasons of the Sheffield Shield. He was retained in the IPL this year by King's XI Punjab for USD 1.2 million approx.
Brisbane, however, enjoy the advantage shared with the Scorchers, Adelaide Strikers and Hobart Hurricanes of only having one team in their city and so being capable of juggling state and BBL contracts for homegrown talent. While the club lost Jack Wildermuth to Melbourne Renegades for this season, they retain a strong local core.
The players in the most intriguing positions on their list are the likes of Joe Burns and Ben Cutting, who are well established and strongly performing members of both state and BBL squads but are thought to be well behind McCullum and Lynn in terms of their deals. Lynn made headlines last year as the BBL's first million-dollar man, signing a five-year deal worth AUD 200,000 a season. He subsequently declined a state contract offer with the Bulls in order to be free to play other T20 tournaments during the Shield segments of the summer.
Elsewhere, Hobart Hurricanes allrounder Daniel Christian is believed to be in demand following his role in helping the Tasmanian team reach the BBL final. Both Melbourne clubs and Sydney Sixers have expressed interest in Christian's services, leaving the Hurricanes under pressure to find a way of keeping him.
The BBL salary cap, which stood at AUD 1.6 million for 2017-18, is expected to rise again next season depending upon the number of matches included in the schedule - CA has hinted strongly at an extra 14 matches to move to a full home and away fixtures list. This in turn hinges upon the broadcast deals to be struck by CA for both the BBL and the international season. Ten, Nine, Seven and the pay TV operator Fox Sports have all shown varying degrees of interest.