Basketball: Kiwi NBA veteran Steven Adams reportedly traded by Memphis Grizzlies

Stephen Foote in action for Memphis Grizzlies.
Stephen Foote in action for Memphis Grizzlies. Photo credit: Getty Images

Kiwi NBA veteran Steven Adams is on the move again.

According to ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski, Adams, 30, has been traded from Memphis Grizzlies to Houston Rockets for guard Victor Oladipo and three second-round draft picks.

The centre hasn't played a single minute for the Grizzlies this year, ruled out for the entire season, after undergoing surgery in October to repair a knee ligament injury.

Led by breakout star Alperen Sengun, the surging Rockets have been one of the surprise success stories of the NBA season so far. The youthful squad have tapered off in the western conference standings, after a fast start to their campaign, but have done enough to indicate they have the talent to become a force in the future.

Adding the hard-nosed experience and elite rebounding prowess of Adams is a sizeable boost to their stocks.

Once fit, he'll likely come off the bench as a back-up for starting centre Sengun, meaning a significant reduction in minutes for the seven-foot Wellingtonian. Last year, he played 27 minutes per game as the Grizzlies starter.

Memphis have slumped near the bottom of the conference rankings, with star point guard Ja Morant's lengthy suspension compounded by a season-ending injury and emerging guard Desmond Bane also sidelined for an extended spell.

Steven Adams in action last year.
Steven Adams in action last year. Photo credit: Getty Images

They've sorely missed Adams' presence on the glass, as one of the league's premier offensive rebounders. Ranked in the top three in the league for offensive rebounding at the time of Adam's injury, they plummeted to 22nd after his departure.

The decision to trade Adams is likely motivated by the Grizzlies' desire to rebuild, allowing them to get off the final year of the two-year extension he signed in 2022 and providing more flexibility to reshape their roster over the longer term.

Houston will be the fourth stop of Adams' 10-year career.

A 2013 first-round pick by Oklahoma City Thunder, Adams spent seven seasons there, before he was traded to New Orleans Pelicans in a November 2020 deal that involved four teams.

Adams boasts career averages of 9.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.0 block per game.