The NBL has heaped pressure on the Illawarra Hawks to sign a new import, to ease the workload on potential NBA No.1 draft pick LaMelo Ball.
The Hawks have stalled on a replacement for NBA veteran Aaron Brooks for more than five weeks, amid speculation about the Hawks business structure and whether owner Simon Stratford will remain at the club.
It is understood the NBL is monitoring the situation.
Stratford and Hawks general manager Mat Campbell have not returned the Mercury's calls and offered no comment when first approached on Friday, while league commissioner Jeremy Loeliger was unavailable.
Brooks tore his Achilles and was ruled out for the season, while Ball has made back-to-back triple doubles, in the overtime win against Cairns and the loss to New Zealand.
However, there are concerns about the 18-year-old's workloads and time on court, leading the NBL - who pay his contract through the Next Stars program - to open discussions with the Hawks about fast-tracking a signing to bolster the squad.
But the stand-off remains, as the Mercury understands the Hawks have cooled on the idea of signing Sydney Kings guard Deshon Taylor, who is an injury replacement for ex-Hawks star Kevin Lisch, to ease the point guard burden.
After the club missed out on Illawarra junior Xavier Cooks, the son of assistant coach Eric, South East Melbourne forward Jaye Crockett - who was an injury replacement for Tai Wesley - and out-of-favour Breakers player Deng Deng have also been discussed by Hawks management.
In February 2018, Stratford took over the full ownership from James Spenceley, who had taken over when the club in 2014 when it was once again on its knees.
The Hawks take on Brisbane on Saturday night.
While you're with us the Illawarra Mercury is offering sport readers 20% off an annual digital subscription. Sign up to stay up to date with all the local sports you love for only $3 a week. Terms and conditions apply.