All of Immortals League of Legends players have been granted permission to negotiate contracts with other organisations, according to Immortals' CEO Noah Whinston.
"I want our team next year to be made up of players that choose to be with immortals, not ones that feel like they're forced to," Whinston said in a video posted Wednesday.
Whinston notes that in both seasons that Immortals have played in the LCS, they placed highly in the regular season but were unable to translate that success into the playoffs. Immortals finished first in the spring regular season and second in the summer, but fell to third place in both the spring and summer playoffs after disappointing showings in the semifinals.
Whinston said the team's reaction to its latest defeat at the hands of Cloud9 would be to focus on its players. "We want to make very clear what our ideals are as an organization, and those ideals place player welfare first and foremost in our minds and hopefully in the minds of our fans as well," he said. "That's why, effective today, I've given permission for every Immortals player to seek offers from other organizations, even while still under contract with us."
He added that Immortals "recognize the importance of letting our players seek outside offers and allowing them to understand the full breadth of opportunities available to them."
Earlier today, Immortals' Seung-hoon "Huni" Heo told ESPN that he was open to offers from any region, and was interested in playing in his native South Korea. Though Whinston did not mention Huni specifically in his video, it was clear his open-offers policy encompassed the top laner.
Whinston did not discuss how Immortals will fill the roles left vacant by players that choose to leave the team, but he said they fully intend to have a five-man roster locked in by late November, ahead of their participation in IEM Oakland alongside Team SoloMid, Splyce, EDWard Gaming and the Flash Wolves.
As part of its player-focused strategy, Whinston said the organization has placed some of its players in other NA teams' Korean boot camps as position coaches. "We feel this is important not just because it gives our players more experience in other team environments, but also because we view coaching as one of the most important career paths after player retirement," he said. "Giving our players more experience in a coaching role means they'll be better prepared for what happens whenever they decide to hang up their mice."
He did not disclose which players are working with which teams.
Whinston also spoke about Immortals' desire to continue to expand into other competitive titles. Immortals signed a Brazilian CS:GO roster earlier this year, and briefly trialed an Overwatch team at the Overwatch Open in August. Whinston said the team will be announcing further additions in multiple titles over the next few months.
Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.