Newcastle Eagles have pulled out of a deal to re-sign Paul Gause after failing to match his wage demands.
With Damon Huffman set to snub the Eagles in favour of opportunities back home in America, it means Newcastle are likely to be integrating a new point guard when the season starts in September.
There will be disappointment at Sport Central that it is not the exciting Gause, however, with the club’s confidence that they would bring him back evaporating over the weekend after his agent asked for a deal that the Eagles couldn’t finance.
Gause had spent last season in Slovakia and was understood to be keen on a return to the BBL to link up with Fab Flournoy again, but the two parties are some way apart on wage levels. The club will meet tonight to assess their next move and intend to “press the button” on another deal before the end of the week.
Eagles owner Paul Blake is all too aware that time is of the essence if they are to have full work permits for all of their imports in time for the start of the BBL season.
“We have been talking to Paul Gause via two agents over the last six or seven weeks about coming back – we know him well so he would always be near the top of our list,” Blake confirmed.
“Damon is staying in the USA next year so Paul was the top of our list and Fab (Flournoy) has had a number of conversations with Paul which gave us some confidence, but over the last few days we’ve had to pull away from the deal.
“To be honest we’re still a long way away from each other in terms of the wage level that he would like to come in for. I don’t have an issue with that at all, because if there’s an opportunity for him which pays him what he wants closer to home then obviously he should pursue that but unfortunately it means we will have to look at other options. We just can’t reach that point, unfortunately.”
Gause was the most realistic of the options being explored by the Eagles, who have also spoken to Reggie Jackson about a possible return.
But Blake believes a third return for Jackson is only a slim possibility, with the chances of Gause returning similarly unlikely after he decided to change agents in a bid to broker the deal.
So far this summer the Eagles have only signed two players – former Plymouth Raider Drew Lasker and college prospect Scott Martin. They are hopeful of bringing in another player before the end of the week, however, and will give Gause a chance to reconsider if he makes a swift decision.
“If we don’t get anything more positive in the next 24 hours then we will have to move on,” Blake confirmed.
“It’s disappointing but we’re very, very confident that with the number of high quality point guards on our list we will find the right player to improve us and to take us forward next season.
“It’s time for us to find the next TJ Walker, Reggie Jackson or Paul Gause.”