1 Nov 2016

Steven Adams: NZ's highest paid sports star?

7:08 pm on 1 November 2016

Basketballer Steven Adams is set to become New Zealand's richest sportsperson, with confirmation he has re-signed with the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder.

The multi-year deal is reportedly worth $140 million over four years.

Steven Adams

New Zealand basketballer Steven Adams has risen to a ranking among the best centres in the league. Photo: Photosport

The 23-year-old, who was picked up 12th in the 2013 draft, is currently in his third year with the Thunder on a salary of about $4m per season.

His manager, Kenny McFadden, said the contract was a credit to the player's humble character.

"It's definitely about the game. The money's always a big plus for anybody... it's always great to be appreciated, but you don't do it for the money.

"You do it because you love playing a game of basketball and at the same time he's with a good organisation and he's in a good city."

Adams' growing influence last season helped steer the team to the Western Conference final, raising his stocks considerably to be rated among the best centres in the league.

With key scorer Kevin Durant and tough forward Serge Ibaka departing in the off-season, prolific guard Russell Westbrook and Adams are regarded by pundits as central figures at the Thunder over coming seasons. Westbrook re-signed on an undisclosed deal in August.

At a salary of $35m a year, Adams would comfortably eclipse New Zealand's biggest sports earners.

The US-based America's Cup sailor-turned-official Russell Coutts is widely thought to be the best remunerated, at about $15m annually, narrowly ahead of West Ham defender Winston Reid and IndyCar driver Scott Dixon.

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