- Publish Date
- Thursday, 13 June 2019, 2:12PM
Steven Adams could make a shock appearance in the Tall Blacks World Cup campaign, with the Oklahoma City Thunder centre named in the side's long list.
Adams was one of 25 players named in the squad, from which a final 12 will be selected for the tournament.
The 25-year-old being named is not a confirmation of the Kiwi centre's availability, rather it allows for those conversations to continue and for Adams to be available for selection to China if he does make that call. A wider squad was required by FIBA ahead of the World Cup. Players not listed could not later be selected for the tournament.
So while there is still no word on whether or not Adams intends to play for the national side, naming him in the squad leaves the door open for him to do so.
"Basketball New Zealand has been in regular communication with Steve and his agency and management at OKC," coach Paul Henare said. "We will look to conclude those conversations in the weeks ahead, but clearly Steve is a player we want wearing the black singlet.
"What he would bring to the team is international size, what he can do at the defensive end of the floor is phenomenal, with his ability to block and change shots and what he does from a rebounding perspective at both ends of the floor. That is something we have rarely had at our disposal is that genuine size and athleticism at that pivot spot. Obviously we would love to have him, but ultimately that decision comes down to Steve."
Basketball New Zealand boss Iain Potter recently told Radio Sport's Jim Kayes they would be open to discussing specific terms with Adams, but it wasn't a conversation they had yet had.
"If Steven would like to have that conversation with us, of course, we'd like to have that and I'd rather do that with him than through third parties.
"If we can work through whatever the barriers are, we're willing to work through whatever they are if they can be worked through."
Tall Blacks long list
Guards: Shea Ili, Tai Webster, Jarrod Kenny, Corey Webster, Ethan Rusbatch, Taylor Britt, Kruz Perrott-Hunt, Taine Murray.
Small Forwards: Tom Abercrombie, Jordan Ngatai, Reuben Te Rangi, Dan Fotu.
Power Forwards: Mika Vukona, Finn Delany, Isaac Fotu, Max Darling, Tom Vodanovich, Yanni Wetzell, Tohi Smith-Milner.
Centres: Rob Loe, Alex Pledger, Steven Adams, Tyrell Harrison, Yuat Alok, Sam Timmins.