Lee Dae-heon (31, 197cm), who became a free agent for the first time in his career, has stayed loyal to KOGAS.
Daegu KOGAS officially announced the re-signing of internal free agent Lee Dae-heon on the 19th. The contract is for a period of four years with a compensation of 550 million won ($440 million in annual salary and 110 million won in incentives). Lee, a founding member of the GAS Corporation, will continue his career in Daegu for another four years.
“I have many good memories of Daegu,” Lee said in a phone conversation. I was disappointed with our performance last season, but I will try to challenge my teammates once again. I am grateful for the good treatment I received from the club. As the main player of the team, I will have to take more responsibility and lead the team well,” he said.
Currently, GASCO is in a noisy situation internally. Coach Yoo Yoo-hoon’s whereabouts are unclear, and there is talk of cutting operating costs by 20 per cent. Despite this, Lee Dae-heon remained loyal to GAS and signed a new contract.
“I never thought about leaving Daegu. The director-general 메이저놀이터of GAS told me that the reduction in operating costs would not affect the support for the team, and the influence of (Cha) Rok, (Im) Soo-soo, (Park) Ji-hoon, and (Cho) Sang-yeol was huge. They were so good to me, like family. Even when I signed a contract, their faces were the first thing that came to mind,” says Lee.
Despite securing the house rabbit Lee Dae-heon, the GAS Corporation was somewhat weaker than last season, with another internal free agent Lee Dae-sung deciding to pursue an overseas challenge, and Jung Hyo-geun joining Anyang KGC. Lee Dae-heon was particularly disappointed with the departure of his best friend Jung Hyo-kun.
He said, “I wanted to show good things with (Jung) Hyo-geun in the new season, but he chose to challenge himself in a new environment. Personally, I’m very disappointed. We are close friends in private, but now we have to meet as enemies on the court. We only spoke on the phone because we were preparing for the wedding, but we didn’t have a deep conversation. I will try to meet him in the future to talk about it.”
One positive is the return of Kim Nak-hyun from the commercial side. He will join GASCO on 15 November after completing his military service. For GASCO to regain its pride in the new season, Lee and Kim will need to act as a one-two punch.
“Some people say that our team is weaker, that the player base is thinner, but I don’t think so. When (Kim) Nak-hyun comes back, he needs to take more responsibility and make plays that can unite the team. I think we can only go up from here. I’m not worried at all because I think I have a good match with Nak-hyun,” he said.
“I’m happy to be able to stand in front of the Daegu fans once again as a founding member of the GAS Corporation. It’s unfortunate that Hyo-geun left, but I will try to fill the void. Until the day I retire, I will show a responsible behaviour and strive to become a player who is dedicated to the team.”