Hawks won't be signing marquee

We'd all like to drive a Ferrari, says Hawks coach Gordie McLeod, but reality is a Mazda. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

We'd all like to drive a Ferrari, says Hawks coach Gordie McLeod, but reality is a Mazda. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

BASKETBALL 

Budget constraints will prevent the Wollongong Hawks taking advantage of the NBL's new marquee player rule.

Following the lead of the A-League, the NBL will allow clubs to pay one nominated player any amount in the 2014-15 season.

Clubs will be required to fork out a 25 per cent marquee player levy for any payment above the league's $1 million salary cap.

NBL chief executive Fraser Neill said the rule was introduced "to attract high-calibre imports or offer financial incentive for local stars considering overseas opportunities".

"[It] provides further financial options for clubs as they head into the player market to fill their roster," he said.

Richer clubs like reigning champions Perth will benefit most from the marquee player rule.

It's common knowledge around the league that Wollongong annually spend about $300,000 under the salary cap.

That won't change in 2014-15.

"We'd all like to be driving around in a Ferrari, but we've gotta stick to the Mazda or the Barina," Hawks coach Gordie McLeod said.

"The league is always looking at ways to move forward and they feel this is something that should be explored, to try and bring in really high calibre players into the league. We saw the interest that [Perth import James] Ennis brought to the league last year, so if you can bring in high quality players like that, it does add interest.

"But it's really not going to concern us because we're not going to be able to go down the marquee player route. We don't spend the cap as it is.

"It's nice to dream and have some vision of where you want to go, and one day I'm sure our goals would be to build the club up to where we would be able to pursue a marquee player. But at the moment we're more about sustainability and trying to get as many people on board as we can to make that happen."

McLeod rejected suggestions the Hawks won't be able to compete on a level playing field with rival clubs.

"If we want to be involved in the league, you go in knowing what the rules are and you play by those rules," he said.

"It's society. It's called the reality of life and it's just the way it is. We'll just go about our business in trying to find the best imports for the budget that we have."

McLeod expects the Hawks to start re-signing their free agents this week.

"Hopefully we'll be moving forward in the next couple of days with some guys," he said.

"We've been talking to different people and we'll continue that process this week. Hopefully we'll have a few things in place."

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