Otago Nuggets centre Lance Allred has been invited for a
trial with NBA team the Charlotte Bobcats and leaves
Dunedin on Monday. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Otago Nuggets centre Lance Allred is really going to miss
"mince pies and L&P". He is also going to miss the Nuggets'
last three games.
The 2.11m American has been called up for a trial with NBA
team the Charlotte Bobcats and leaves Dunedin on Monday.
It is a fantastic opportunity for Allred. The 30-year-old
made three appearances for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2008
and he would like to add to his NBA record. But there is also
some sadness leaving the team before the season is complete.
"The thing is I'm happy here and I haven't been homesick one
day, so it's tough to leave," he said.
"But the important thing is I'm leaving on good terms and
therefore that leaves the window open to hopefully return."
Allred will definitely slip the singlet on at least one more
time, when he suits up for the Nuggets against the Nelson
Giants at the Edgar Centre on Friday night.
It is a chance for the big man to bow out on a high after the
team's disappointing result against the Southland Sharks in
Invercargill on Saturday.
The Nuggets were thrashed 100-58 and will be keen to put on a
much-improved performance against the Giants.
"It was hard to watch but it is just one those nights that
you have in this game. Not every night is going to go your
While things did not go well for the Nuggets in Invercargill
the franchise had a breakthrough win against the Manawatu
Jets last month and it is a memory Allred held close to his
The 74-67 win broke a 33-game losing-streak which stretched
back to April 2008.
Allred had a stand-out performance with 22 points, 15
rebounds and four blocks and was reduced to tears from the
emotion of the occasion.
"It was getting back to the true element of sport. No money,
no ego, just playing to win and playing because we love it.
"It reminded me of why I still play. I hadn't been enjoying
playing basketball for a long time - it was a job, a grind.
But being able to come down here and enjoy myself - I had
forgotten what it feels like.
"That night was a beautiful thing."
Nuggets coach Alf Arlidge said Allred left with the team's
"He has just been a joy to coach," Arlidge said.
"The cool thing about Lance is he came here as a basketballer
and will leave as a friend. He has been a really great guy."
He has also be very consistent, averaging 16.1 points and
10.1 rebounds and has taken some of the younger players under
his wing, particularly Sam King.
His departure may coincide with the biggest crowd of the
season. Fans are asked to pay what they think Friday night's
game is worth - there is no set entry fee. Basketball Otago
general manager Markham Brown hopes the promotion will bring
in a good crowd and that the game will serve as a fitting
farewell for Allred.
A replacement will not be sought. With the campaign in its
twilight and the Nuggets' playoff prospects bleak at best, it
would not make much sense.
"If we were pushing for a playoff spot it might change things
a little bit," Brown said.
"But the odds are pretty low at this stage."