Bay of Plenty Times
Pelicans lock in big Kiwi
Four-team trade takes Adams to a better situation and a club on the rise in the NBA
New Zealand basketballer Steven Adams’ move within the NBA has been confirmed with his trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Financial details weren’t given but the two-year extension is reported to be worth $50 million. He also picks up a $3million trade bonus. The deals runs through the 2022-23 season and is fully guaranteed.
The 2.13m centre has played his entire seven-year career at OKC, who have decided to unload the majority of their squad.
He will link up with power forward Zion Williamson, the number one draft pick last year, at the Pelicans. The Pelicans also have Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball in their lineup but have made the play-offs just once in the last five years.
Adams appeared in 530 career regular season games with the Thunder, amassing career averages of 9.8 points on .589 shooting, 7.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.9 steals and 1.0 block.
He played 63 games in 2019-20, averaging 10.9 points on .592 shooting, 9.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.1 blocks.
Selected 12th overall out of the University of Pittsburgh in the 2013 NBA Draft, Adams ranks fifth all-time in Okc/seattle franchise history in blocks (531) and first in field goal percentage.
Adams was a part of a four-team trade involving the Pelicans, Denver Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks and Thunder.
The Pelicans acquired Adams (via Oklahoma City) and Eric Bledsoe (via Milwaukee), as well as two future first round draft picks from Milwaukee and the right to swap two additional first round picks with the Bucks. In exchange, Milwaukee have acquired Jrue Holiday and the draft rights to Sam Merrill, the 60th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft (via New Orleans); Denver have acquired the draft rights to R. J. Hampton, the 24th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft (via Milwaukee); and Oklahoma City acquired a future first round draft pick (via Denver), George Hill (via Milwaukee), Zylan Cheatham, Josh Gray, Darius Miller and Kenrich Williams (via New Orleans) as well as two second round draft picks from the Pelicans (2023 via Washington, 2024 via Charlotte).
“Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe are not only fiercely competitive and driven to succeed at the highest levels, they are proven winners with a team-first mentality,” said Pelicans executive David Griffin.
“As we continue to build toward the sustainable success our ownership demands and our fans so richly deserve, we are grateful to be able to do so with such high-quality teammates and human beings.”
The Tall Blacks Asia Cup qualification matches against Australian and Hong Kong have been postponed because of Covid-19.
The Tall Blacks were due to host Hong Kong tomorrow and Australia on Monday.
Basketball New Zealand High Performance manager Leonard King said the global pandemic and the relative isolation of New Zealand has defied all the best-laid plans.
“We have been working on various options to get games played for months, not knowing what the situation was going to be like come late November.
“Unfortunately, however, current border restrictions and quarantine regulations mean we simply couldn’t get on the floor in November, but we remain hopeful that some of these restrictions may ease in time for games to be played early next year.
“Understandably everyone is nervous of any unnecessary travel and the impact that might have on their wellbeing in these uncertain times.”
King said while it’s disappointing given the Tall Blacks’ strong 2019 World Cup results and a win over Australia in February in the first round of the Asia Cup qualifiers, BBNZ remains committed to playing the qualifiers and fulfilling other upcoming international commitments.
The next FIBA window is scheduled for February 15-23 and King is hopeful the matches may go ahead then subject to border and quarantine restrictions.
The Tall Blacks are currently top of Group C after defeating Australia and Guam in the first round.— RNZ