Adams’ competitive nature enticed Pelicans
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.