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The Oklahoma City Thunder star was among the 25-man Tall Blacks squad announced today in preparation for the September tournament.
That will be cut to 12 and his inclusion is no guarantee he will be available.
However, it does leave open the possibility of his involvement.
"Basketball New Zealand has been in regular communication with Steve and his agency and management at OKC," coach Paul Henare said.
"We will look to conclude those conversations in the weeks ahead, but clearly Steve is a player we want wearing the black singlet.
"What he would bring to the team is international size, what he can do at the defensive end of the floor is phenomenal, with his ability to block and change shots and what he does from a rebounding perspective at both ends of the floor.
"That is something we have rarely had at our disposal is that genuine size and athleticism at that pivot spot.
"Obviously we would love to have him, but ultimately that decision comes down to Steve."
Also included in the squad is Otago centre Sam Timmins, who plays at the University of Washington.
Those two join Alex Pledger, Rob Loe, Tyrell Harrison and Yuat Alok as centres in the squad.
Tall Blacks squad
Guards: Tai Webster, Shea Ili, Jarrod Kenny, Corey Webster, Ethan Rusbatch, Kruz Perrott-Hunt, Taine Murray, Taylor Britt.
Forwards: Tom Abercrombie, Reuben Te Rangi, Jordan Ngatai, Dan Fotu, Isaac Fotu, Finn Delany, Mika Vukona, Max Darling, Tom Vodanovich, Yanni Wetzell, Tohi Smith-Milner.
Centres: Steven Adams, Sam Timmins, Alex Pledger, Tyrell Harrison, Yuat Alok, Rob Loe.