Basketball: Breakers would welcome Corey Webster back for Aussie playoffs

Corey Webster could wear Breakers colours again this season
Corey Webster could wear Breakers colours again this season Photo credit: Photosport

NZ Breakers owner Matt Walsh would welcome Corey Webster back to the club for the Australian Basketball league playoffs. 

The Tall Blacks guard is back home, forced out of China by the coronavirus outbreak.

The Chinese League has been put on hold due to ongoing health fears, leaving Webster in limbo. 

The 31-year-old left the Auckland-based Australian NBL club in December to take up a lucrative short-term deal with Zhejiang Guangsha.

Breakers boss Matt Walsh
Breakers boss Matt Walsh Photo credit: Getty

As part of that deal, Webster committed a further two years to the Breakers from next season, but if Walsh has his way, the talented shooter could be back sooner.

Speaking to Trackside Radio, Walsh said there were still political and contractual hurdles to jump, but he was hopeful Webster would play a part in their championship push. 

"His Chinese club holds his FIBA letter of clearance and with that league also in limbo because of the coronavirus, nobody is really that sure what will happen. 

"If that season is officially cancelled, then Corey will be released from his contract with the Chinese team. 

"We have explored with the league [ANBL] if he were able to get his letter of clearance and what that would mean for us, and it appears he could return to the Breakers at that point, which is pretty exciting."

The Breakers have soared in Webster's absence, winning a league-best nine games from their last 12, but they still sit on the outside, looking in at the top four. 

The Auckland-based club can go a step closer to the post-season with a win in Brisbane on Friday, but Walsh said there was zero chance Webster would play a role in either of the remaining regular-season games. 

"He won't be available for the rest of the regular season. It's a timing issue with his contract and personal situation, so we won't be able to work that out. 

"I'm going to see him today hopefully, unless he has the two-week quarantine of course, so maybe that will be Facetime. 

"But from our perspective, if we win these final two games and make the playoffs, then we would want to add a player of Corey's stature to our roster, yes." 

Two wins could be enough to secure a spot in the final-four and earn the club a shot at a fifth Australian title, although Brisbane hold fourth spot and probably need two wins in their last three games to stay there. 

Walsh touted the Breakers as the competition's form team and insisted a championship was not out of reach. 

"We believe we can win the championship. We have the best record in the league over the last 12 games and if we can get these next two games done, then we will push for that, regardless of what happens with Corey."