Illawarra president Dorry Kordahi says the Hawks will look to use the sudden loss of Travis Trice to its advantage ahead of the scheduled season tip-off.
The club parted ways with major signing coup Trice on Tuesday over his refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
He was the second NBL player released in such circumstances, with the Breakers also moving on star guard Tai Webster over the same stance a day earlier.
The club is not anticipating any further issues on the vaccination front but, given state governments have indicated interstate travel freedoms will only be granted those fully vaccinated, Kordahi said the decision on Trice was unavoidable.
"We are living in unprecedented times and these things are going to happen," Kordahi said.
"Unfortunately with uncertainty around state borders and travel regulations with different governments, it was not workable from that perspective.
"We're on the lookout now for a replacement and we need to be optimistic now that we have an opportunity to really see what other clubs have signed with their imports and knowing the exact pieces we have here.
"We can look at it from a positive perspective and really map out what sort of player we want to look at getting. We definitely need a point guard, which is what Travis was for us.
"We've got a few players we're looking at really closely and our train of thought might change now based on what we've seen with other teams and their recruits."
While the priority remains a like-for-like replacement, Kordahi said coach Brian Goorjian may look to cast a broader net to complement what is otherwise a complete roster.
"Travis was one of our early signings. We got guys like Duop [Reath] and Harry [Froling] after that," Kordahi said.
"Having all these guys signed up now could alter the way we look at it. Right now we are looking at a solid point-guard, a guy that can drive and penetrate and find the open man.
"We've got Tyler [Harvey] and [Justinian] Jessup out on the wings, who are two lethal shooters. We've got AC Cleveland who's a very strong perimeter player that can shoot a jump shot.
"Harry can shoot from three and Duop can stretch the floor too, so we've got a pretty robust team as far as guys who can shoot from beyond the arc. That's something we were missing last year.
"Having these extra pieces now is going to help us space the floor, whether we go with a combo-guard or point-guard who can penetrate and distribute."
Harvey arrived in Australia on Monday, with Cleveland set to follow next week. Jessup will be a later arrival towards the end of in October.
While some teams - notably Perth - have kept their import powder dry to start previous seasons for greater roster flexibility, Kordahi said the Hawks will have a replacement import locked in before tip-off.
"We definitely want it locked in before the season," Kordahi said.
"Tyler did a fantastic job last year, but he carried a lot of pressure on his shoulders. That was very evident and something lot of teams saw as well.
"We need a guard to help Tyler get into that two spot. We're not going to hold back and wait, we've got some players on our list at the moment and we'll make an announcement in the next couple of weeks."
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