Two years ago
Jawai unlikely to return to the Taipans.
The scenario facing Nate Jawai and the Cairns Taipans is a regrettable one for all.
The Cairns Post reported on Monday that his future was in serious doubt with the club and since then, it has become more evident that he has all but played his last game in orange.
The big man is 32 and will be 33 when the 2019-20 season ramps up and he should be about to enter the phase of his career that Alex Loughton just enjoyed.
The now retired captain was celebrated at every opportunity over the last two years of his career, not just in Cairns but around the league, and that is exactly what Jawai should receive in his twilight years.
Like Loughton and like another club champion in Aaron Grabau, Jawai deserves to be celebrated in his last few seasons in Cairns but instead he has been left in limbo.
You only have to attend one home game in the Far North to see who the fans swarm to for a photo or high-five after a game — it is the best sweaty bloke with No. 15 on his back.
As a local product from Bamaga, he is the most marketable player they will ever have on their roster and who has just had his best season in years.
Consider these comments from Taipans boss Mark Beecroft on June 3, 2016 when Jawai was unveiled as a Taipan for the second time.
"We want to build a long term program for him, like we have done with Kerry Williams, with our indigenous programs for health and wellbeing and driving positive messages into communities," Beecroft said.
“Our aim, when Nate's career comes to and end, in a long period of time from now ... when that time comes, we will transition him into that program, alongside Kerry, and driving positive messages.
“What he delivers away from the court will be just as important for our club and Nate going forward.”
In his three years at the club, Jawai claimed the Commitment to the Community Award at the club’s end-of-season awards on two occasions.
And, after two injury interrupted seasons to start his contract, 2018-19 was his statistically best in many years.
Jawai has held up his end of the bargain, he has worked his backside off away from the court for the club and he has obviously done that on the court when his body has allowed him.
The club, though, have promised him a pathway into life after basketball and with several good years left in Jawai, have left him in limbo.
The article seems to lean towards the Cairns Taipans abd Beecroft owing Nate a living, they don't. It's a business and if Nate's asking price is too much then it is understandable.
Overall I think Nate does still have value in the NBL, he is still a significant low post presence and a good passer. But he is slower, a poor shotblocker for his size, and has to be nursed through a season.
Who would want Jawai?
Perth to replace Brandt?
United to replace Boone?
36'ers to replace Froling (if applicable)? Unlikely suited to fast pace.
Sydney already have Bogut.
Illawarra already have AJ.
NZ are chasing Long.
BrisVegas have Hodgson.