New import set to sign with Breakers: report

Rakeem Christmas. Photo: Getty Images
Rakeem Christmas. Photo: Getty Images
The New Zealand Breakers are set to be given a late Christmas present.

According to reports out of Europe, the four-time ANBL champions are set to sign import centre Rakeem Christmas, in an attempt to get more production from their big men as the second half of the season takes shape.

The Breakers have lost five of their last seven games, falling off the top of the table as a result, and they could use a boost up front.

Enter the 6'9" Christmas, who played for the Indiana Pacers last season, taking the court in 29 games and averaging two points and two rebounds in seven minutes per game.

Alex Pledger and Rob Loe have done a serviceable job manning the centre position to start the season, but Christmas would provide a needed jolt of athleticism and a big defensive presence.

Bringing in Christmas would mean the Breakers would have to make a roster cut, likely to be centre James Hunter, who has played just eight minutes this season.

Drafted by the Timberwolves with the 36th pick in the 2015 NBA draft, Christmas was traded twice, eventually ending up with the Pacers, for whom he played once in the 2015-2016 season, before a bigger role the following campaign.

During that span, he spent plenty of time in the NBA Development League, named as an All-Star in 2016.

Christmas was waived by the Pacers in July, then signing in Turkey with Galatasaray. He averaged 7.5 points and four rebounds per game with them, but parted ways with them in November.

In the ANBL, the 26-year-old should provide a strong defensive presence and efficient production at the rim. While it is hard to glean much into his lack of gametime in the world's biggest leagues, Christmas was a star during his college career at Syracuse - averaging 17.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in his senior year - a pedigree that should translate well to the ANBL.

For now, the Breakers will be without any additions for their clash with the Cairns Taipans tomorrow, but there is a chance they will be receiving Christmas cheer against the Illawarra Hawks next Saturday.

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