As the Korean LCK approaches the end of its season, fans are eagerly anticipating the playoffs as they usually do. However, this time there is a sense of uncertainty as it might be the last chance for fans to watch their favorite players, as several contracts are set to expire after the season.
This situation raises the possibility of another exodus of Korean star players. Here are the names of those players in question.
LoL: LCK Roster Changes Due To Player Exodus?
Once again, the Korean LCK is widely regarded as the strongest league in competitive League of Legends by many, and its teams have achieved numerous international titles. The league and the entire region are also renowned for consistently producing the biggest star players and high-skilled talent.
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Only the Chinese LPL can be considered a strong contender in terms of star power and financial strength. With only a few matches and the playoffs remaining, the LCK is approaching the end of its season, which also means that several contracts are nearing their expiration. This includes many well-known names such as Jeong "Chovy" Jihun, Han "Peanut" Wangho, and Lee "Gumayusi" Minhyung.
Now, many fans are questioning whether there might be another exodus of Korean talent to other regions, such as China or North America, especially after the new financial rules introduced by the LCK a few weeks ago. But let's examine the biggest names that could potentially be without a new contract.
It's safe to say that the upcoming off-season will be an intriguing one.
Hanwha Life Esports
Hanwha Life Esports currently holds the 3rd rank in the LCK and is a strong contender for the Korean title. However, after the season, the team could undergo significant changes as nearly all contracts are coming to an end. Notable players like Park "Viper" Dohyeon, Shin "Rooster" Yunwan, or Jo "Grizzly" Seunghoon, who was recently promoted to the main roster, are among those whose contracts are expiring.
Particularly, a talented veteran player like Viper will be intriguing for other franchises, considering he already played in China for over a year, gaining international experience. By November, only four people will remain under contract at Hanwha Life, signaling potential major changes for the organization.
Dplus KIA is undoubtedly one of the most star-filled franchises in the LCK and has the potential to retain many of its players, as several contracts are set to end next year. However, there is a possibility that prominent figures like Heo "Showmaker" Su, Kim "Deft" Hyukkyu, or Kim "Canyon" Gunboo could leave at the end of November when their contracts expire.
Interestingly, none of these players have ever played outside of Korea, and there are currently no rumors indicating any interest from other organizations. Showmaker, who has been with the franchise since 2017, is likely willing to extend his commitment. Nevertheless, only time will reveal the actual situation in three months, and as always, money can be a crucial factor in the world of professional sports.
To be precise, the contracts of the entire starting lineup are set to expire at the end of November 2023, suggesting significant changes ahead for the organization.
kt Rolster is undoubtedly facing a tough time, as the contracts of four out of five starting players are set to expire at the end of November. Currently, kt Rolster holds the second place in the LCK, making it crucial for the franchise to show interest in extending the contracts of their successful roster.
Players with well-established reputations like Kim "Aiming" Haram and Son "Lehends" Siwoo are likely to draw interest from teams all over the world. Their skills and experience make them valuable assets that many organizations would find intriguing.
The franchise is experiencing an underwhelming season this year, currently ranking second to last in the LCK. It remains to be seen if the organization even intends to extend some contracts. However, considering that all contracts of their starting lineup are about to end, changes are likely to be on the horizon.
It's doubtful that OK's players would be enticing prospects for top Korean franchises, but European or North American organizations might show interest in them. It's worth observing how the roster might shape up for the next season.
T1 is undeniably one of the most popular and successful franchises in the esport landscape, boasting multiple big names under contract. However, three of these contracts are set to expire at the end of November, involving Choi "Zeus" Wooje, Lee "Gumayusi" Minhyung, and Ryu "Keria" Minseok, some of whom have been part of T1 for years.
Given the caliber of players with this level of experience, they would undoubtedly be of interest to nearly every team worldwide, sparking a potential race to secure their services. A T1 exodus might be on the horizon. But T1 fans need not worry, as Faker's contract remains in place until 2025.
The current leader of the LCK might indeed face significant changes after the end of the season, as all contracts except one are set to expire. This means that well-known and respected players like Han "Peanut" Wangho, Jeong "Chovy" Jihun, or Woo "Winner" Joosung are now free to negotiate with other franchises.
Considering their exceptional current form, there's no doubt that teams from all over the world would show immense interest in acquiring their talents. The only question that remains is whether these players are willing to part ways with the world's best team. However, the financial possibilities offered by North American and Chinese organizations could prove to be too tempting for them to resist.
The KWANGDONG FREECS are among the few franchises that have the potential to retain a large portion of their players, as only one contract from their starting lineup is set to expire. Despite the team's current position, sharing the last place with two other organizations, there might still be some changes ahead.
The only player with an expiring contract after the season is Moon "Andil" Gwanbin, and it appears unlikely that FREECS will be interested in extending his tenure with the team.
DRX is enduring a disastrous season, falling way below their own expectations. The team currently sits at the bottom of the LCK, making it unlikely that the organization is even considering extending some of the expiring contracts. Consequently, players of the caliber of Kim "Rascal" Kwanghee or Jo "BeryL" Geonhee may start exploring other options.
Given their talent and skill, players like them should have no trouble finding new teams swiftly. Thus, we might witness a significant exodus of DRX players to other teams or regions.
NongShim Redforce is experiencing a mediocre season with five wins and eleven losses, and they will likely be on the lookout for new players to enhance their roster. However, apart from their own ambitions, there seems to be no reason for significant changes, as most players are under contract until the end of the next season.
Only the contracts of Song "Quad" Sunhyeong and Shin "CoCo" Jinyeong are set to expire in November. It will be intriguing to observe how RedForce approaches the transfer market in response to these contract situations.
Liiv SANDBOX is currently sharing the 6th rank with RedForce in the LCK and could be facing significant changes to their roster. All contracts of the lineup are set to expire at the end of November, which suggests that we might witness a completely different team next season.
Consequently, prominent players like Lee "Clozer" Juhyeon and Park "Teddy" Jinseong will be available on the market and surely attract interest from teams in various other regions. Particularly Teddy, who has been a part of the scene since 2016, would be a valuable addition to almost any roster.
The LCK is poised to undergo some of the most significant team changes in years, with a total of 97 contracts set to expire at the end of November. Many players are actively seeking new teams and opportunities, which could potentially lead them to other regions.
A considerable Korean exodus is highly probable, especially due to the new financial regulations in the league that might result in lower team budgets. Regions with higher salaries, such as North America and China, are alluring destinations for numerous well-known talents, and history has shown that a considerable number of players have left Korea before.
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However, the LCK and the Korean scene, in general, boast an abundance of talent waiting to showcase their skills. Thus, the region will continue to remain competitive in the foreseeable future.
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