The Press

Adams’ com­pet­i­tive na­ture en­ticed Pel­i­cans

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The New Or­leans Pel­i­cans be­lieve they have got a ‘‘proven win­ner’’ and a ‘‘fiercely com­pet­i­tive’’ ath­lete in New Zealand’s Steven Adams.

Hav­ing been widely re­ported in re­cent days, the move of the Kiwi NBA star from the Ok­la­homa City Thun­der was con­firmed yes­ter­day.

New Or­leans an­nounced the ac­qui­si­tion of the 27-year-old as part of a four-team trade with the Den­ver Nuggets, Mil­wau­kee Bucks, and the Thun­der, as the club com­pleted a dra­matic off-sea­son re­build.

Adams’ pickup comes along­side that of Eric Bled­soe, from the Bucks, and Pel­i­cans ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of bas­ket­ball oper­a­tions, David Grif­fin, had high praise for the pair.

‘‘Steven Adams and Eric Bled­soe are not only fiercely com­pet­i­tive and driven to suc­ceed at the high­est lev­els, they are proven win­ners with a team­first men­tal­ity,’’ Grif­fin said.

Adams won’t be the first Kiwi in­flu­ence at the Pel­i­cans, with Sean Marks hav­ing played 74 games for them be­tween 2008-2010 when they were known as the New Or­leans Hor­nets, while New Zealand Break­ers guard Corey Web­ster spent a pre-sea­son there in 2015.

Adams had one year re­main­ing on his four-year deal with the Thun­der, re­port­edly worth US$100m

(NZ$143.3m). Ac­cord­ing to ESPN, he will still bank US$27.58m (NZ$39.52) in the up­com­ing 2020-21 sea­son.

On Tues­day, it was re­ported New Or­leans had al­ready agreed to a twoyear con­tract ex­ten­sion as well, worth

US$35 mil­lion (NZ$50.16m). Ac­cord­ing to ESPN, be­cause Adams did not waive his trade kicker, he was able to sign an im­me­di­ate ex­ten­sion rather than hav­ing to wait months, as per the NBA’s col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment.

Since be­ing the 12th over­all draft pick for the 2013 sea­son, the 2.11m cen­tre has been a big pres­ence, on and off the court, in his seven sea­sons at the Thun­der.

Af­ter seven sea­sons and 530 reg­u­lar sea­son games, he ranks first for field goal per­cent­age, third in re­bounds (4029), steals (469) and blocks (531), fourth in points (5191) and games, and fifth in as­sists (615) in Thun­der his­tory.

The club’s Twit­ter ac­count posted a suc­cinct ‘Thanks, mate’, with a shaka emoji, cou­pled with a photo of a som­bre-faced Adams.

 ??  ?? Steven Adams’ move to the New Or­leans Pel­i­cans is of­fi­cial.
Steven Adams’ move to the New Or­leans Pel­i­cans is of­fi­cial.

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