Andersen rockets into NBA contention

Andersen rockets into NBA contention

The Houston Rockets have obtained the NBA rights to Australian Boomer David Andersen.

Andersen’s rights have been held by the Atlanta Hawks since 2002 but the Frankston product did not make the playing roster that year and is yet to play an NBA game.

In the meantime he has become perhaps the most decorated Australian player in the history of world basketball.

He has won two Italian national championships with Bologna and one with Siena, four Russian titles with CSKA Moscow and one Spanish title with Barcelona. He has also won three prestigious Euroleague titles (the equivalent of football’s Champions League) and was named to the All-Euroleague First Team in 2005.

The 29-year old also represented Australia at the Athens and Beijing Olympic Games.

But with star centre Yao Ming under a long-term injury cloud Houston has been looking to bolster their front line and at 212cm and 111kg it seems Andersen may soon by a Rocket.

No deal has been struck at this point, but Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey has used language that suggests one may be forthcoming.

"David has been a winner with every team he has played for in Europe," Morey said. "He is a very well-rounded player who possesses good offensive skills and a very good shooting touch for a big man.

"[He] should fit well in coach Adelman’s system.”

Andersen was holidaying on his parents’ farm in Victoria when the news came through and he told Basketball Australia [HEAR AUDIO] that Houston intends to sign him to a playing contract.

“I’ve spoken with the coach and the general manager and they’re all excited about me coming in and this is why the main deal was done, so things are going ahead and they’re just sorting out the particulars of the contract,” Andersen said.

“I should get something signed and sealed in the next few days.

“Obviously to replace Yao is probably impossible because he’s such a big guy and such a good player, so I’ll just try to step in and help the team out and hopefully get an opportunity to play some good minutes.

“Training camp doesn’t start until September some time so realistically they won’t start until then but I’ll probably be heading over there in the next ten days or so to do the signing, meet everyone, do the medicals and the press stuff.

Andersen described the opportunity to play in the NBA as a dream come true, even if he may have to take a pay cut to do it.

“You grow up looking at the NBA as the pinnacle of basketball and I’ve always had ambitions to play there.

“I’ve had a great time in Europe and played with some of the best clubs around there, so it’s been really good, and now I’m going to try to take on the challenge of playing in the NBA.”

“For me to go to the NBA I’m taking a slight financial hit because I’ve been playing for one of the best teams in the world and I’ve been taken care of very well, but I’m not going to be struggling.

“Who knows, if I do well in my first few years over there then maybe I can get lucky and land a big contract.”

Story and interview by Bill Baxter