No coach and no chief executive yet the Wellington Saints are already getting active in the player market.
The Saints yesterday announced the signing of the versatile Dion Prewster, who returns to Wellington after stints with Southland and Hawke's Bay.
He is just the second confirmed player on the Saints' books, with Tall Blacks point guard Lindsay Tait the other, although local stalwarts Damien Ekenasio and Jordan Mills are expected to return.
Saints administrator Nick Mills Jr said re-signing Tall Blacks Corey Webster and Casey Frank was a high priority although rival clubs were "throwing the kitchen sink" at Webster in particular.
Mills Jr added the Saints were in negotiations with another Tall Black.
The Saints are also hopeful they can land an Australian administrator as their new chief executive, following the departure of general manager Tara Hakiwai.
But the big unknown is who will coach the Saints next year, following the loss of Pero Cameron to Waikato.
"There are a few options but the candidates haven't been strong enough in the early stages," Mills Jr said.
"We interviewed ages ago but there were a few dreamers out there. Quite a few overseas ones but it's so hard unless you've got a really good reference because it's just too risky.
"There are options of having a local team, local coach, possibly, but we're trying to get one that's got a relatively good profile at the same time. It is an urgent situation so we are trying our hardest to get that sorted."
Mills Jr said Tait was disappointed about losing Cameron but "he's a true professional and just wants to help the organisation in any way he can".
The NBL season tips off in April and the Saints are still stinging from their semifinal exit at the hands of Southland this year.
They will also be without Dillon Boucher, who has signed as a player-coach with the Super City Rangers.
The signing of Prewster was indicative of the desire to recruit local talent but the overall goal was still championship or bust.
"To put bums on seats you have to be a winning team, that's the key," Mills Jr said.
"We always get rubbished for having all these out-of-town players. It's better if we can have a few local players contributing but I don't think it's the Saints ethos to go into a season and not try to win a title."
Former Junior Tall Blacks captain Prewster was a member of the title-winning 2011 Saints squad. He enjoyed a breakout 2013 NBL with Hawke's Bay, averaging a career-high 13.6 points and 6.4 rebounds.
Prewster can play as a guard or forward.
"I'm not worried about anything else but winning," Prewster said.
"I just want to contribute and help the Saints win games and ultimately a national title. I think this time round I have more to offer compared to my first year here."
- © Fairfax NZ News