Kiwi NBA star Steven Adams has responded to rumours of an expected departure from the Oklahoma City Thunder – months after nagging rumours that he would be traded first started.
Adams, who experienced a less than impressive end to his NBA season with the Thunder, told US media talk of being axed by OKC hurt "because you're human".
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The 26-year-old centre, who is heading into the third year of a four-year US$100m deal with the Thunder and is owed US$25.8m in the upcoming season, had a mixed bag in the 2018-2019 season - averaging a career-high 13.9 points and 9.5 rebounds across 80 games, but copping plenty of criticism for his performances in the playoffs.
The Thunder were ousted in the first round by the Portland Trail Blazers in five games, leading to speculation that Adams would be traded from leading NBA experts, including Sports Illustrated's Jake Fischer, ESPN's Zach Lowe and acclaimed sports personality Bill Simmons.
"It ain't this thing where you just read about it and you're just surprised that it happened to you. If it's happening to someone else there's a chance it could happen to you - it's common sense," Adams said on Tuesday.
"It still affects you in some way, because you're human. Obviously, I care about the organisation here but, again, we're here to support the organisation and the organisation needs to do well and you have to keep that in mind."
Some of the more recent reports suggested Adams was one of three players the Thunder were looking to offload in order to free up cap space.
"We're just here to help. If you could place your brick in the history Oklahoma's about to create, that's a privilege, that's cool. Even if they do trade me, it's just a huge honour," Adams said.
"I know for every player who's played here it's been a huge honour to contribute to the history Oklahoma's making. It's a very special organisation…it's doing very well for itself."
Adams will be going up against some familiar faces when the Thunder play the New Zealand Breakers in NBA pre-season on October 11 (NZT), before he begins his seventh NBA season against the Utah Jazz on October 24.