Newcastle Eagles’ player of the season Malik Cooke is heading for the exit door at Sport Central – after lining up a lucrative move to Hungarian club BC Kormend.
The guard enjoyed an impressive first campaign on Tyneside and there had been talk of him returning to the BBL champions next season, but Paul Blake is ready to admit defeat in the battle to re-sign the star.
The Hungarian side are ready to confirm Cooke’s capture in the coming days and Blake says he departs with the blessing of all at Sport Central.
He said: “He leaves with our best wishes if this is a move which is concluded.
“Hungary is a relatively strong league and it is a good move for him if it happens.
“Malik was very positive for us last season and I like to think it was a positive move for both parties in the end.
“At the moment we’ve not heard anything from Malik and I’ve not had the chance to speak to him, but I heard about it late last night and it does seem at a fairly advanced stage.
“He goes with our blessing and he is a very talented kid who deserves a good move.
“At the same time I’m confident we can bring in new bodies in those positions who will add to us for next season.
“It is an area where we’re confident we can add something and really progress the roster for next season.”
Unlike in previous years, the Eagles do not expect a drawn-out saga in their bid to bring back key men next season.
The Eagles are hoping to tie up deals for Darius Defoe and Charles Smith to return next season – and are understood to be closing in on their first capture of the summer.
Smith enjoyed another fruitful campaign.