ANBL: NZ Breakers release import Lamar Patterson after injury prognosis

NZ Breakers have released injured import Lamar Patterson, following a knee injury that leaves him out of action for at least four weeks.

Patterson, 29, hasn't played for the Breakers since late February, after limping off the court in the 102-88 defeat to Illawarra Hawks. The injury has since been confirmed to be a mild strain to Patterson's medial collateral ligament (MCL).

As a result, the Breakers have cut their losses on the American, who will return to his previous club, Brisbane Bullets.

Breakers coach Dan Shamir didn't hold back in his assessment of the situation, questioning Patterson's intent in his decision to leave. 

"At the current point in time, we're in a situation where we're experiencing a lot of difficulties," Shamir says.

"We did not look to replace Lamar, this was not initiated by us. It was obviously initiated probably by Lamar's representation and the Brisbane Bullets, who are unhappy with their import and wanted to replace him.

"When we got into those talks, we understood that, knowing all the challenges we're experiencing, how tough the circumstances are for us, only if you're very committed and motivated to fight through them [will] you be able to be successful.

"If you don't want to do that and prefer to be somewhere else, then so be it. We'll make our adjustments."

Patterson is a two-time All-ANBL First Team selection and a former college teammate of Kiwi NBA star Steven Adams, but his form so far this season has been a contributing factor to the Breakers' four-win/nine-loss record, second from bottom of the competition table. 

The American averaged 21.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.6 assists for the Bullets last season, when he was named on the All-NBL First Team, but his 2021 numbers make for different reading, producing just 10.8 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, before his knee injury. 

Website Sportando reports that the Kiwi club has acted quickly to sign 28-year-old Levi Randolph, fresh from a successful stint with Canton Charge in the recently concluded NBA G-League.

Randolph averaged 12.9 points per game for the Charge, along with 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists. 

The Breakers are also without the injured Corey Webster (knee), while Rob Loe returned home from the team's Australian base, due to personal reasons.