The KBL announced today that the Ulsan Hyundai Mobis have signed free agent Kim Jun-il. He will sign a four-year contract worth 450 million won ($315 million in salary and $135 million in incentives).

Currently, Hyundai Mobis has room in its big man lineup. Franchise star Ham Ji-hoon is backed by national team big man Jang Jae-seok. There is also a backup in Kim Hyun-min. Depending on the situation, Choi Jin-soo could be used as a power forward.

Still, the reason Hyundai Mobis brought in Kim Jun-il is because of Ham Ji-hoon’s aging. The 40-year-old South Korean showed flashes of brilliance last season, but nagging back injuries kept him out of the lineup in the final stretch of the regular season and the playoffs. If he were to leave, the team would be left with only Jang Jae-seok as their starting big man, hence the addition of Kim Jun-il.

A Hyundai Mobis official said, “(Ham) 스포츠토토 Ji-hoon was a player who showed his capabilities on the court until last season. However, as time went on, we could see his stamina and physical condition decreasing. He also has a chronic back injury. As we were looking for a replacement due to his aging, we signed (Kim) Jun-il. Considering Ji-hoon, I think we should also utilize (Kim) Hyun-min, who hardly played in the new season, to some extent,” he said, explaining the reason for signing Jun-il.

Meanwhile, Hyundai Mobis also succeeded in cracking down on house rabbits. They signed Ham Ji-hoon for two years and 450 million won ($315 million in salary and 135 million in incentives), Choi Jin-soo for two years and 350 million won ($280 million in salary and 70 million in incentives), and Kim Hyun-min for one year and 70 million won ($63 million in salary and $7 million in incentives). The decision to keep veteran Ham Ji-hoon for two more years is particularly noteworthy.

“Ji-hoon and I have a bond with each other. He’s our franchise star, and I don’t think the 450 million won is an honor. It’s still recognizing his skills. There are many players who are not as good as Ji Hoon. He said he would fulfill the two years of his contract, and I’ve never seen him not fulfill his promise in 17 years. He’s always faithful. That’s why I signed him to a two-year contract.” A Hyundai Mobis official said about Ham Ji-hoon.

The reason for re-signing Kim Hyun-min, who averaged just 4:52 minutes in 27 regular-season games last season, was his unseen contributions. It was Kim Hyun-min who was able to get along with the juniors and take care of the people around him the most.

A Hyundai Mobis official said, “We already talked to coach Cho Dong-hyun about re-signing him from the middle of last season. It’s not easy for a senior player like Hyun-min to get along with juniors, but he worked out with them in the offseason. He has leadership qualities. I saw him buying snacks for the trainers and buying meals for the juniors, and he seemed to have a good influence on the team, so I decided to stay with him for another year.”

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