Duop Reath could return to the Illawarra Hawks next season as a marquee player.
Nick Kay is another former player Hawks general manager Mat Campbell is considering bringing back, after revealing signing a marquee player was one of the club's top priorities heading into the off-season.
With just five games left to play, the injury-ravaged Illawarra are on track to record their worst NBL season on record, having won only two of their 23 games to date.
It's been a tough first year in charge for rookie coach Jacob Jackomas, who has lost imports Justin Robinson, George King, Peyton Siva and Michael Frazier II to season ending injuries.
Nevertheless his team has still shown some fight and endured a number of narrow defeats. In fact they have lost by less than 10 points 12 times, the latest being a heartbreaking 84-79 loss to league leaders Sydney Kings on Sunday.
Read more: Brave Hawks fall short in Sydney derby
Campbell is eyeing some big names familiar to the NBL, to revamp the club's roster for next season.
"Our guys have been good this year. I think if we had one more [marquee] I reckon it would have been a different year," he said.
"That's why we are actively looking for a marquee player that would really cement our squad. Trying to find a marquee player is a priority.
"Someone like Duop Reath who played with us last season was outstanding. Someone like him or Finn Delany, there's a number of guys out there who would suit our style of basketball. Hopefully we can secure one of them in the off-season and that will give us a better season."
Reath averaged 15.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks for Illawarra last season while Delany played for the New Zealand Breakers for seven years from 2015-2022, making the All-NBL Second Team in 2021.
Both players are currently overseas, with Reath playing for the Qingdao Eagles in China and Delany the Telekom Baskets Bonn in Germany.
Campbell said all teams bar Cairns were playing with marquee players.
"It just makes it hard to compete if you don't have them," he said.
"Sam Froling is starting to be very very consistent and in the next few years he will play at that level, he will add that.
"But if you look most teams have two marquees. South East Melbourne have Mitch Creek and [Ryan] Broekhoff, Melbourne United have [Chris] Goulding and Isaac Humphries and Adelaide have Mitch McCarron and Daniel Johnson.
"You have got to have someone who can be consistent night in night out.
"I look at a marquee as someone who can play 30 minutes and consistently give you those numbers."
Campbell told NBL.com.au the club also had a keen interest in bringing injured import Justin Robinson back. The 25-year-old has been a positive influence in the locker room despite his injury and Campbell believes he has the skillset to succeed in the NBL.
"Justin was outstanding. We put a lot of effort into finding him in the preseason, and obviously he showed so much talent. To lose him in the first game really hurt us. We're talking to Justin now. We're hoping to bring him back," Campbell said.
The Hawks travel to play the New Zealand Breakers on Thursday night before returning to Wollongong to take on the Brisbane Bullets on Saturday.
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