Corey Webster's NBL future in limbo
New Zealand Breakers star guard Corey Webster's commitment to the upcoming 2019/20 NBL season --which tips off October 3-- hangs in the balance, with Turkish club Darüşşafaka keen to sign the currently contracted star.
Coming off an outstanding FIBA World Cup campaign with the New Zealand national team, Darüşşafaka have offered to buy out Webster from the Breakers with a reported fee of $125,000USD.
Webster has in fact even offered to pay $100,000USD of the fee himself, to show his eagerness to be released from the Breakers and to continue to make international progress on his career.
However, the Breakers have denied the release stating that Webster is 'far too valuable' to the team.
New Zealand Breakers owner Matt Walsh spoke on 1NEWS New Zealand reiterating these statements.
"We have told Darüşşafaka and his agents the number that it would take and they haven’t been willing to go there," Walsh said.
"Of course this would be good for the club financially but our goal is to win a championship and Corey is a major part of that."
It has been reported by Guy Heveldt that the figure New Zealand are asking is closer to $250,000USD.
This isn't the first time Webster has been in this situation. In 2017 he signed a two-year deal with the Perth Wildcats, which ended his first tenure with the Breakers, only to ask for a release to pursue his career overseas.
The Wildcats obliged on that occasion and Webster went on to sign in Israel for Ironi Nahariya.
Webster is indeed hot property after leading New Zealand to Olympic qualification for Tokyo 2020, in a stellar FIBA 2019 World Cup campaign where he finished third in competition scoring at 22.8ppg.
If Webster was indeed to be bought out, it would leave the Breakers very much behind the eight-ball heading into the NBL season.
However, there have been numerous scouts and media outlets crying out for New Zealand Tall Black Ethan Rusbatch to secure a place on an NBL roster.
Update: The Breakers have officially announced a signing for Ethan Rusbatch as their non-restricted player (NRP) for this season.
Rusbatch, a shooting guard/small forward could reportedly be joining the Breakers at the upcoming NBL Blitz.