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Steven Adams shortfall creates standoff

Published: 7:51PM Wednesday July 17, 2013 Source: ONE Sport

Basketball New Zealand desperately needs to find $35,000 to bring Oklahoma City draftee Steven Adams home to play for the Tall Blacks.

The national body today discovered they will need $25,000 to insure Adams and around $10,000 to bring him back should he turn out against Australia in the FIBA Oceania series next month.

While that figure is a lot lower than what was first forecasted, Basketball New Zealand chief executive Ian Potter, concedes that even raising such a relatively small sum is a challenge.

"We're running on the smell of an oily rag, we're doing what we can with what we can - it's a struggle," Potter told ONE News.

Basketball New Zealand received $1.5 million over the past three years to fund development but this year High Performance Sport New Zealand cut all funding to cover its national teams.

"We gave them $1.5 million in the last four year cycle and additional funding to qualify for the (Olympic) games; unfortunately both teams did not qualify," High Performance Sport New Zealand chief executive," Alex Baumann said.

Now the criterion is even tougher. To gain funding a sport has to prove they have the potential to finish in the top-three of a world event.

"When we take a look at the potential of winning medals in 2016 or 2020 they didn't convince us in terms of their plan," Baumann said.

When quizzed about a possible exception to the Adams shortfall, Baumann stood firm.

"It's taxpayers' dollars, if we see potential in the sport we're happy to invest in that sport, but they didn't convince us in terms of their plan," he said.

High Performance Sport New Zealand haven't ruled out opening the door to funding next year but Potter is now looking for alternatives to raise the money needed to bring Adams back for the games against Australia in Auckland and Canberra.

Whether that is privately or through sponsorship remains to be seen, but you sense that Basketball NZ will do whatever it takes.