Brisbane Bullets chief executive Peter McLennan moves roles in latest power struggle change

The clean-out in Brisbane has continued with chief executive Peter McLennan the latest to vacate a role at the Bullets.

The club announced on Friday McLennan had tendered his resignation after an, at times, rocky three years at the helm.

Under McLennan’s stewardship, the Bullets never finished better than sixth and were engulfed by turmoil this season, amid a power struggle with now sacked general manager and club legend Sam Mackinnon.

The club had three coaches and won just eight games in NBL23. In December, McLennan denied claims of a rift between the pair. Less than two months later, Mackinnon was gone, his job made redundant by the Bullets.

Now McLennan vacates the role, with the club left in the hands of former Melbourne United assistant Justin Schueller as new head coach and senior basketball Adviser Stu Lash, a close confidante of majority owner Jason Levien.

News Corp understands McLennan is a key connector between the Bullets’ ownership and Olympic and state government decision-makers as the club pitches to be a primary user for a new stadium, to be built for the Games by 2032.

Levien confirmed McLennan would remain involved with the club.

“We understand Peter feels he has another opportunity that he cannot pass up and we wish him continued success,” Levien said.

McLennan acknowledged the challenges he faced in the job but said it was a tough decision to move on.

“It’s been one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make,” McLennan said.

“My three years with this great club has thrown plenty of challenges but the position of the club, both on and off the court, is now primed for future success and I’m proud of the role I’ve played in that.

“While I have an exciting new challenge ahead of me, I hope to stay involved with the club in some capacity, as there is much work to be done around building a legacy for the Bullets regarding a future permanent home for the club.

“I want to sincerely thank our owners, staff, corporate partners and of course our wonderful members and fans for their support over the past three years.”

It’s understood the Bullets will pivot the role left vacant by McLennan away from organisational oversight and channel a new hire toward an operational focus, with Schueller and Lash in charge of basketball decisions.


Matt Logue

The internal power struggle at the Brisbane Bullets has produced another casualty, with club legend Sam Mackinnon made redundant from his general manager of basketball role.

The NBL’s worst kept secret went public on Tuesday when the Bullets announced the club had partied ways with Mackinnon.

The club said the decision to restructure its front office came following an internal review, but the reality is the move has been in the makings for months.

Mackinnon has been at loggerheads with officials and remote team owners about wanting more control of the roster and other key decisions as the general manager of basketball.

The problems continued when the Bullets great became the club’s interim coach in December following James Duncan’s departure as head coach.

Mackinnon only lasted in the job for four games before the club opted to move him back to his GM role after a 1-3 coaching record.

It’s understood Brisbane players are disappointed to see the NBL championship winner moved on, given he had the respect of the playing group.

There is a belief that Mackinnon’s future became uncertain when the Bullets appointed former NBA official Stu Lash as the club’s senior basketball Adviser in December.

Lash thanked Mackinnon for his contribution to the club over the past six seasons in the club’s statement.

“Sam has had a long and distinguished career in the league, and he brought a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Bullets when he joined back in 2017,” Lash said.

“We want to sincerely thank Sam for all his efforts and wish him great success.”

Mackinnon’s departure comes as the Bullets only have three players contracted for next season in Aron Baynes, Nathan Sobey and DJ Mitchell.

The rest of the squad remains in the dark about their futures, which is understood to be causing frustration.

The Bullets also announced Greg Vanderjagt would be retained as an assistant coach after impressing during his stint as interim coach to finish the season.

Lash knows the club “can’t hide” from its disappointing ninth placed finish (8 win and 20 loss record), but everyone involved is determined to turn around the franchise’s fortunes.

“We owe it to our incredible fans to leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of sustained success for this great club,” Lash explained.

“We are extremely pleased with the recent appointment of new head coach, Justin Schueller, who comes to the club with an outstanding basketball resume, and tremendous skillet.

“We exist to win championships for this great city and our loyal fans.

“We are focused on creating a winning culture, and maintaining a club that connects with its fans and community.

“We are confident that when the new season begins, our supporters will not only be excited about the team we’ve put together, but also the direction we are headed.

“I want to thank all our amazing fans for their patience and understanding as we look to take the Bullets back up the ladder and into championship contention.”

Originally published as Brisbane Bullets chief executive Peter McLennan moves roles in latest power struggle change

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