Steven Adams won’t play for New Zealand in 2019 FIBA World Cup

Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams will reportedly not play for the New Zealand Tall Blacks in this summer’s FIBA World Cup, per Basketball New Zealand.

Adams was part of New Zealand’s 25-player preliminary list that will be cut to 12 players for the FIBA World Cup. The world cup will be in China from Aug. 31-Sept. 15.

Though Adams won’t play with the Tall Blacks this summer, Adams’ agent Darren Matsubara of Wasserman Media Group released a statement about Adams’ future with the team.

“Steven’s support of the Tall Blacks and his interest in playing for the program at some point down the line is unwavering,” the statement read, per Basketball New Zealand’s Twitter account.

“While he won’t be participating this year with the National Team, his plan is to evaluate the opportunity to play in the 2020 Olympics following the upcoming NBA season.”

For New Zealand to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the Tall Blacks must finish better than other teams in the Oceania region such as Australia. The Tall Blacks can also qualify for the Olympics if they are one of the top four teams among the 24 that will compete in the Olympic Qualifiying Tournaments in June 2020.

This past season Adams averaged 13.9 points per game on 59.5 percent shooting from the field, and he also grabbed a career-high 9.5 rebounds per game.

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