Struggling Adelaide releases import De Leon
VETERAN import point guard Adris De Leon has been released from his Adelaide 36ers contract as the team searches abroad for a much-needed spark to its season.
It’s understood that De Leon was told of the club’s decision on Friday but fans would not have known it judging by the intensity he brought to the team in its 12-point loss to Sydney yesterday.
The 34-year-old journey- man started on court, won first possession and scored the opening basket on Jerome Randle while working hard both ways in his 25 minutes of game time.
He finished with 11 points and a game-high six assists but that solid effort was not enough to save him.
With Jacob Wiley and Ramone Moore occupying the other two import spots on Adelaide’s roster, the 36ers are believed to be targeting a shotmaking import who can bring confidence and belief back to the group.
“Definitely (we’re down on confidence),” 36ers coach Joey Wright said post-match.
“We’re passing up shots early, pump faking wide open shots that are our shots, and that’s what happens when you lose — (you suffer from) low self-esteem.
“Right now when you talk about bottle half full or half empty, we have an offset of too many guys that’s half empty.
“You’ve got to have that belief that things are going to work out, right now as soon as we get in that moment we have to stay with the positive stuff.
“Right now our leadership isn’t there, we don’t have leaders on the court when we’re down to say ‘it’s okay, let’s go get this’.”
Fox Sports commentator Shane Heal said Adelaide needed to make a change to personnel.
“The Adelaide 36ers internally do not have the talent that took them to the grand final last year, a change has to be made,” Heal said on the TV coverage yesterday.”
De Leon has shown glimpses of his best this season, including 21 points on 6-7 threepoint shooting in Adelaide’s Round 2 win over the Kings, prompting Wright to label him the best value-for-money import in the league.
But after losing five of their past six games, the Sixers have decided they have to make a change.