Breakers sign ex-NBA star Rakeem Christmas

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Christmas has come a bit later than usual for the New Zealand Breakers.

TARRYTOWN, NY - AUGUST 08:  Rakeem Christmas #25 of the Indiana Pacers poses for a portrait during the 2015 NBA rookie photo shoot on August 8, 2015 at the Madison Square Garden Training Facility in Tarrytown, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.   (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Rakeem Christmas

Source: Getty

Former Indiana Pacers big man Rakeem Christmas, 26, has become the third and final import for the team, who currently sit third in the Australian National Basketball League.

Christmas has arrived in Auckland and will practice with the Breakers tomorrow ahead of their trip to Illawarra on Saturday.

Coach Paul Henare said the option was always there to bring in a third import and Christmas' signing gave the team an injection at both ends of the court.

"It was more trying to find someone to complement and make our group a whole lot better," Henare said.

"Rakeem is a genuine threat at both ends, he had a good four-year career at Syracuse and has flirted with the NBA. He brings legitimate shot blocking at the defensive end and protects the rim.

"On the offensive end, while Rakeem shows some touches around the free throw line, he provides some real athleticism and a target at the rim, which we want to utilise with the shooters we have on the floor."

Christmas was drafted into the NBA in 2015 by the Minnesota Timberwolves and then traded to the Indiana Pacers, where he played 30 games.

He said he has heard good things about the Breakers and the NBL and wanted to do a good job defensively and score down in the post.

Squad member Jimmy Hunter was released to make room for Christmas.

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