The Breakers have finalised their roster for the coming season, signing former NBA star Awvee Storey to fill the import slot vacated by Dave Thomas.
The former Washington Wizard and Milwaukee Buck forward is a straight swap for Canadian Thomas, who withdrew from his contract because of injury.
The 32-year-old Chicago native is an athletic 1.98m forward who played his college basketball at Arizona State and has 60 NBA regular season games for the Milwaukee Bucks, Washington Wizards and New Jersey Nets to his credit. Most recently he played the 2008 NBA pre-season with the Nets before heading to China, where he averaged 23.3 points and 7.1 rebounds across the 44-game season for Liaoning.
Storey's on-court CV is impressive but he does not come without baggage. In 2006 he was suspended and investigated by police after punching Dakota Wizards teammate Martynas Andriuskevicius during a practice session.
The same year Storey was also arrested for disobeying the police at Miami Beach, although the charges were dropped after he made a US$250 donation to charity.
Breakers chief executive Richard Clarke said the training incident was "obviously a concern" but the club had investigated it fully and were happy to bring the player to New Zealand.
"We have been extremely thorough in our background checks and have spoken to a lot of people who know Awvee and know about the incident," Clarke said. "The assurances we have been given from many sources and from Awvee himself give us complete confidence in Awvee's character.
"He has learned from the experience, and we have had personal endorsement from the Wizards and Bucks management as to his character. He comes recommended as a hard worker, a tough competitor, and a great teammate."
Coach Andrej Lemanis was attracted by Storey's toughness.
"We expect Awvee to help us defensively, on the boards and with overall toughness. We expect him to fit in with our team culture of doing what it takes to make the team better."
He arrives in Auckland with his wife and daughter at the end of the month.By Steve Deane Email Steve