Winnipeg Sea Bears release star Teddy Allen after behaviour causes team ‘unrest,’ coach says

The Winnipeg Sea Bears have dropped the league’s reigning most valuable player from their roster.

Teddy Allen’s release from the city’s Canadian Elite Basketball League team is effective immediately, the Sea Bears announced Monday morning.

The “difficult decision” was made following behaviour from Allen this season that head coach and general manager Mike Taylor said had created what he called internal “unrest” for the organization.

“He has taken so much attention from myself, our coaching staff and even from the team. It’s been difficult,” Taylor said during a news conference to address Allen’s release from the team on Monday.

“I can tell you in games where he’s talking and things [are] going on, you know, he’s in an argument with one of our coaches [while] our coach is trying to call the defence.

“In the last two games, we’ve had guys in arguments on the floor not locked in and trying to get into position for defensive coverage on an inbound play. And these types of distractions are just — they became too much.”

Allen, the star guard who was re-signed as a protected player in February, was named the league’s most valuable player in 2023 after leading the Sea Bears to the best regular-season record ever achieved by an expansion team, the team’s website says.

He was also named player of the game on Sunday, when he racked up 39 points for the Sea Bears, according to the team’s social media. The update comes as the team grapples with a four-game losing streak.

‘There’s no one individual that’s bigger than the team’

Taylor said he didn’t want to get into the details of all the specific on- and off-court behaviour in question, but noted Allen had been fined by the league and by the team itself.

“We have a player who is, you know, positioned as a go-to player, as a leader for our team, on the court playing individually and outside the system,” Taylor said. “So on the court, while the stat lines look fantastic, it was really difficult for the rest of our team to function.”

The coach said other Sea Bears players like centre Chad Posthumus were among many from the organization who tried to help Allen before it got to the point where he was released from the team.

“There’s no one individual that’s bigger than the team. And in this situation, with several attempts from guys like Chad and other players, other members of the organization, you know, we felt like, ‘Hey, it’s time. We need to make that release,'” Taylor said.

“One of the issues that we ran into with Teddy was it became so individualistic and he dominated so many of the offensive possessions outside of the system, it became hard for our other players to really be productive,” the coach said, adding he hopes Allen takes the release from the team as “a turning point and a wake-up call.”

A basketball player shots the game during a game.
The Sea Bears lost to the Edmonton Stingers 81-87 Friday, marking the end of the Winnipeg team’s season. (Justin Fraser/CBC)

Taylor said the team is working on filling the spot left by Allen, but added “we have a lot of confidence and belief in the players that we have here.”

“We hope now that we see a real team response, a real team effort with better ball movement, better commitment to defend and we make ourselves better by just teamwork,” he said. “But we will also, you know, try to find that market and find that good replacement as soon as possible.”

Team president Jason Smith said while it’s “obviously extremely difficult to lose a player of Teddy’s calibre,” he echoed coach Taylor’s sentiment that “one player is not bigger than the team.”

“We want to be an organization that stands up for players that are working within the system and are doing the right things,” Smith said, adding he was among those who had personal conversations with Allen about his “behavioural issues” before he got to the point of being released.

“We really were at a crossroads where we felt like we did not have another alternative.”