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Thunder star Steven Adams declines playing for New Zealand in FIBA World Cup

Steven Adams, Thunder

The New Zealand Tall Blacks revealed that they will be playing in the 2019 FIBA World Cup without Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams.

Basketball New Zealand, the New Zealand governing body of basketball, announced through their Twitter account that Adams has informed them about his decision to skip the FIBA World Cup. The reason was not revealed, but the Thunder star expressed desire to play for the Tall Blacks in future tournaments.

“Steven’s support of the Tall Blacks and his interest in playing for the program at some point down the line is unwavering,” Adams’s agent at Wasserman Media Group said . “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.”

Adams was included in the 25-man pool of the Tall Blacks for the FIBA World Cup, which will run from September 31 to August 15 in China. New Zealand was drawn into Group F, where they will be going up against Greece, Brazil, and Montenegro in the preliminary rounds.

The 2019 FIBA World Cup also serves as a qualifying event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In order to qualify for the Olympics, the Tall Blacks have to finish ahead of Australia in the final tournament ranking or secure one of the four berths that will be made available in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament next year.