Casper Ware on the cusp of NBL return

Former champion and 3-time All-NBL first team member Casper Ware is on the cusp of making a return to Australia.

Currently playing for BC Enisey in Russia's VTB United League, Ware has been in discussions with the Adelaide 36ers about securing a deal for the rest of the 2021-22 season.

"Definitely Adelaide is the team I've been talking to and showed interest to. We're trying to get something done," Ware told ESPN.

"It has to happen quick, so if it does happen it has to happen in these next couple of days. If anything goes down, it'll go down quick, and I'll be right back in Australia doing my thing."

Averaging 16.0 points per game to lead the team in scoring, Ware has been his usual productive self on the offensive end. But following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ware admits concerned family members have been regularly in contact in recent days.

"Right now, I'm in Siberia, so it's one of the safest places you can be in Russia because it's so far away from everywhere else. As we speak, everything is safe, it's just a matter of being able to get out if you need to. They're cutting off bank transfers and stuff like that so it's really hard for me to use my card, so I have to adjust to that," he said.

"I got family members that are sending me news stuff so I'm seeing what the US is saying. You have that thought of needing to get out of here. Three of my American teammates already left. I don't like to jump the gun, so I sit down and look at the situation and really get some more information."

The club has been supportive through the time, with the option to leave on the table.

"They said it's up to us," Ware said. "They have told us they don't know what is going to happen, something else could pop up so whatever we want to do they will get us home if we don't feel safe or comfortable. They've been pretty good with communicating in that way."

"It's hard. Going into practice you see the team is smaller because guys have left. It feels weird. It's always on the back of your mind but being a basketball player, once that ball is in play, you don't think about anything else. I love this game and that's all I'll be thinking about on that court. Once I get off the court maybe those thoughts will come back but that's my safe place on that court."

After five seasons in the NBL, Ware signed with the club last August, embracing new opposition, new surroundings and testing his skill in a new league.

"Getting out of my comfort zone and having a different challenge. This was a situation to play in one of the best leagues in the world. The VTB has a lot of top players in this league, and I want to match up against these players and teams and show what I can do. It was about getting over there and proving people wrong really quick and show them I can play over here. The ball dribbles the same, the ball shoots the same and I'm the same person." The 36ers are currently 5-11 in NBL22, sitting in eighth place in the standings.

"It should be a fun return if it does happen. If not, maybe next year I'll give it a look and see what teams need and see if teams need me."