Just days into the free agency period, the Illawarra Hawks have suffered a devastating double blow, with Boomers players Nick Kay and Mitch Norton to leave the club.
Bitter rivals Perth Wildcats announced a three-year deal with Kay on Friday evening, after his outstanding performance for Australia in the Commonwealth Games gold medal effort.
The Mercury understands the Wildcats are poised to announce Norton as well, two years after they joined the Hawks when the Townsville Crocodiles NBL franchise collapsed.
“Before and during the free agency period the club made several offers to each player to try and keep the duo here for future seasons,” an Illawarra Hawks statement said.
“However they each decided that it was the time to leave and seek new opportunities. We would like to thank Nick and Mitch for the time they had here with the club, and wish them the best of luck in their careers.”
AJ Ogilvy has committed to the Hawks next season, however, the club faces a period of rebuilding the roster, after the ownership restructure which was James Spenceley sell his share.
Simon Stratford is now the majority owner, with NBL chief Jeremy Loeliger backing the business model, as Hawks great Mat Campbell has been announced as the new general manager following the departure of Kim Welch.
Oscar Forman has retired.
The Hawks missed the finals last season after losing the best-of-five grand final series 3-nil to Perth the previous season.