Could Portland Trail Blazer Wesley Matthews become a Hawk?

This is the $34 million man who could be the Wollongong Hawks' saviour this season.Australian basketball superstar Patty Mills certainly thinks so.Mills, who will play for NBL rivals Melbourne while the NBA lockout continues, yesterday declared Portland Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews was interested in joining the Hawks on a short-term deal.The Hawks are looking for a replacement for NBL MVP Gary Ervin, but their plans were thrown into disarray when they sacked US import Donavan Munroe three weeks before their season tip-off."[Matthews] has a genuine interest and he would be a genuine chance for the Hawks," Mills told the Mercury yesterday."One of the reasons he has expressed an interest is that he has always said that he wants to come visit me out here in Australia."Like a lot of guys in the NBA, he's looking for an opportunity to play during the NBA lockout."Wollongong might be his chance. I don't know if a deal could be done, but I know he likes the idea."Mills sent Matthews a Twitter message yesterday saying: "HEY BALA @wessywes2! (Matthews) The @wollongonghawks just opened up an import spot and now it has your name written all over it. Get here bro".Matthews replied asking about his chances of having surfing lessons with Gerroa's world No 2 Sally Fitzgibbons.The 24-year-old also told Mills "I can dig it" about a move to Wollongong.The two became close friends after Matthews moved from Utah to Portland on a five-year $34 million contract last year.Mills signed with Melbourne last month.Another Australian star, Milwaukee Bucks centre Andrew Bogut, is in negotiations with Sydney and has said he is prepared to commit to a low-pay deal to fit under the NBL salary cap.Hawks general manager Mili Simic said the club had made no approaches to players to replace Munroe, who was sacked on Tuesday after struggling to adjust to coach Gordie McLeod's Wollongong system."We'll see what happens with NBA contracts, but we've always preached about our budget and how we spend our money under the salary cap," he said."We are not in a position to pay high costs for a player's insurance, like other clubs are looking to do with Andrew Bogut."I'm not so sure how much Patty understands about the business of basketball in Australia."We are the NBL and our finances are a bit tighter."But Gordie and I will look at our options in the next few weeks."The Hawks were saved by Indian mining magnate Arun Jagatramka in 2009, before the company Gujurat NRE came on board as major sponsors this season.Mills' Tigers will take on the Hawks in Brisbane tomorrow and he said he would be happy to talk to McLeod about Matthews coming to Wollongong.However, Simic said the team was only interested in taking a point guard and Matthews has made his career in the NBA - averaging 15 points per game last season - as a shooting guard.Still, Mills claimed Matthews would be an ideal solution. "He's a great player and they should definitely be looking into getting this happening," he said.

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