Even Down Under they’re talking about European ball and the NBA lockout. New Zealand Breakers CEO Richard Clarke today (or yesterday Antipodean Standard Time perhaps…) announced a couple of Euro-tinted roster moves by his defending Australian National Basketball League champs.
According to New Zealand-based The Press, national team member Thomas Abercrombie will eschew playing in Europe as he has re-signed with the Breakers for 2011-12. The 23-year-old Abercrombie had reportedly seen European ball as a stepping stone on his path to the NBA but also reckons he’ll get oodles more playing time for his NBL team.
Clarke went on to state that Team New Zealand sharpshooter Kirk Penney has also reupped for another season, but that the player’s contract has an out clause should Penney sign with a European club before August 1. Penney played in Europe from 2005-07 in stints with Maccabi Tel Aviv, Žalgiris Kaunas and Alba Berlin.
Of course, the shooting guard was last seen in Europe last year for the 2010 FIBA World Championships, a tournament in which he racked up quite the nice stats, highlighted by an opening-game 37-point barrage in a loss to Team Lithuania.
Penney has also played 1½ seasons’ worth of D-League ball plus cups of coffee with the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers in the 2000s. Though invited to the San Antonio Spurs’ camp in 2010, Penney could not land a position there.
On his stud guard, Breakers coach Andrej Lemanis said that, “We will wait until we know for sure he is returning and while at the moment we are planning on having Kirk back, we have to be flexible if he does decide to head to Europe.”
Six other players were announced to the squad, and the Breakers may yet sign more big names before 2011-12: “Also affecting the [roster] situation at the moment is the potential NBA lockout and what effect that will have on the quality of imports available,” Lemanis said.