NZ Breakers and Tall Blacks star Tom Abercrombie is winging his way to Europe tonight after signing a short-term deal with French club ASVEL Basket.
Abercrombie had been due to link up with the Waikato Pistons when the domestic NBL season begins on Wednesday, having been touted as a key new signing for the province.
But the Pistons today confirmed they have released Abercrombie from his contract in order for him to link up with the Lyon-based side for their remaining six games this season.
Abercrombie will be joining former Breakers teammate Will Hudson at ASVEL Basket, who sit ninth in the French domestic league with 14 wins and 11 losses.
Pistons assistant coach Anthony Corban told Radio Sport they are yet to know when, or if, Abercrombie could take to the court for them when he returns.
"The season finishes mid-May, and then Tom will have a quick review with his agent regarding recovery time and possible participation in the NBL this year," he said.
Breakers general manager Richard Clarke said Abercrombie is still contracted to the Breakers for the 2014/15 Australian NBL season, and his stint in France will not affect his deal with the club.
"He's still got a year to go on his contract, so this is just a short-term off-season contract and his contract will automatically revert back to us once the season is over," said Clarke.
However Clarke admits there is the danger Abercrombie will catch the eye of scouts from more high profile European Leagues when he is in France.
"It's always a risk, but then the World Champs are in Spain in September, and Tom is always going to be on the radar. There's always risks with your good players, but we think we've got a pretty good deal for him as well," said Clarke.
"You deal with it if it happens, but hopefully it won't."
"This is a good opportunity for Tom to test himself over there and see what it is all about. It'll also give him a different perspective on things and I think it should help him for us next season."
Clarke said Abercrombie has a "buy-out" clause in his Breakers contract which gives him an out if he is offered a big-money deal in Europe.