Taranaki Mountain Airs American import Adrian Oliver has had his contract ripped up and was on a plane back home yesterday.
The Mountain Airs management released the injury plagued Oliver from his contract last weekend because of "a few issues," said Airs manager Mick McBeth yesterday.
Oliver missed the Airs last two games against the Canterbury Rams and Wellington Saints as he tried to recover from blisters on his feet.
"His body wasn't up to playing full time basketball again," said McBeth, adding that Oliver was coming off a lengthy spell since his previous professional contract before signing for the Airs.
"Obviously we would have preferred to find this out before he came over, but he did come with a recommendation."
McBeth said the Airs had a performance clause in Oliver's contract which the American guard failed to meet from the time he arrived in New Plymouth.
Injury and fitness concerns, however, were only a part of the reason Oliver was dropped.
McBeth said the American guard was reluctant to play an active role in the Mountain Airs basketball in schools coaching programme.
"Part of our programme is that (imports) are paid to coach as a part of children in schools programme and he struggled to buy into the concept," said McBeth.
"Adrian has had a lot of big contracts in the past when he has been paid to play basketball only. The idea of coaching as well was something that he wasn't familiar with," McBeth said.
He said the crunch came after Oliver didn't play against Canterbury on Queen's Birthday Monday and then couldn't train and missed the game against the Saints in New Plymouth last Friday night.
Oliver was happy with the decision to terminate his contract with the Airs, according to McBeth. "It's not that we pushed him out, it was a case of what's best for both parties."
The Airs won't hire another second import this season even though it was permitted under NBL rules.
"The rules state a team to replace an import if the team has five or more games to play in the season. "Our next game (tomorrow) is our fifth to last of the season which left us only Monday and Tuesday to find someone. The turnaround was too tight," McBeth said.
"It's not panic stations by any means," he said. "We're happy to proceed with the local guys and we're pretty happy at where we're at the moment."
The Good Home Mountain Airs next game is against the Rangers in Auckland tomorrow night.
- Taranaki Daily News
What name would you like to see the Taranaki rugby team known as next year?Related story: Change on cards for our team - no bull