Adelaide coach Joey Wright has scoffed at suggestions the 36ers have sounded out former import Kenyon McNeail to replace Adris Deleon who played his last NBL game in Saturday’s 93-81 loss to Sydney.
After being told on Friday he would be cut, Deleon threw everything at the Kings with 11 points, five rebounds and a game-high six assists.
But with the Sixers plummeting to their fourth successive defeat, the trigger was pulled on the diminutive point guard.
During his previous two NBL seasons in 2011/12 and 2012/13, Deleon was an All Star starter and deadly sixth man, averaging 16.6 points per game with the now-defunct Gold Coast Blaze – under Wright – and Wollongong.
But the 34-year-old was unable to capture the same form this season, averaging 7.6 points and shooting 33 per cent across nine matches.
McNeail, a similarly sized point guard but seven years younger than Deleon, made three NBL appearances for Adelaide in 2015.
However a shoulder injury sustained during the pre-season dunk contest saw him replaced by future league MVP Jerome Randle.
Wright was surprised at McNeail being mentioned as Deleon’s replacement.
“Where do you get this stuff from? Somebody said that?” Wright said.
“No, I don’t know where that came from.
“He is a good friend of mine, I still talk to him. I reach out to him but not to come play here.”
The new import, to be announced this week, will be charged with the task of helping turn around the 36ers’ flagging fortunes.
Wright admits the team’s confidence and belief is down.
“Losing brings about lower self esteem which plays out during the game,” he said.
“When you talk about bottle half-full or half-empty we’ve got too many guys as half-empty.”