New Zealand Breakers owner and CEO Matt Walsh says the Kiwi club is chasing three key signatures this off-season with star import Scotty Hopson a “priority” for the team.
Walsh said the Breakers aimed to re-sign Hopson along with locals Isaac Fotu and Tai Webster for next season but acknowledged the different situations each player finds themselves in.
Hopson averaged 19.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.7 assists with the Breakers last season, leading Walsh to believe the 30-year-old will have the opportunity to explore NBA options.
“We have made it very clear that our biggest priority since the season ended was getting Scotty Hopson,” Walsh said.
“I think since he was healthy in the second half of the year, we were the best team in the league and he was the best player in the league.
“On top of that he was the most professional guy, the most amazing guy in the community – we want him back.
“I think he is going to wait a little bit. I think he is going to see what happens with the NBA season, see if the G-League comes back. I think Hop is an NBA player.
“I think there’s a decent chance we could see him in an NBA uniform next year and if not, we are going to do everything we can to get him in a Breakers uniform.”
Fotu and Webster have both been playing overseas in Europe, but with the Covid-19 pandemic changing the global basketball landscape, Walsh is hoping the duo stay in New Zealand and opt to don a Breakers jersey next season.
“We have had discussions with them. They’re going to be coming through our programme in the offseason, working out with our guys, we are going to be running some pick-up games here,” Walsh said.
“We are going to use that as a platform to showcase who we are as an organisation.
“It helps that these guys have played in the national team together. Tom Abercrombie, Corey Webster, Finn Delany, Rob Loe, we are using them as a recruitment tool.
“It’s going to depend on the international markets. With the coronavirus, we don’t know what’s going to happen in Italy, Turkey, EuroLeague or EuroCup. I think we are fortunate in Australia and New Zealand that we are going to be one of the first leagues back to business.
“I just hope they’re loving New Zealand, that they’re really enjoying being home, they’re having some good home cooked meals…We can leverage all of that mum and grandma’s cooking to get them to stick around.”