Don't really get all the hate for the Hawks. Sure, they're not your multi-million dollar glamour team. And, yes, they are going through a sh!tstorm at the moment. But, hello: Sydney? Brisbane? Melbourne? Yeah, they're back in now but they went out with crowd pools of 1,000,000+ people and capital city venues. The Hawks have 300,000? spread a long way down the coast. So, if your criteria is that a team should be kicked out completely and forever, get rid of Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. But if an new owner can found who is willing to put money in and clear the debts, then the Hawks do still "deserve" their place in the league, along with everyone else.
If a new owner cannot be found (or if the NBL doesn't torpedo any deal?) then so be it. The Hawks go the way of the Cannons, Falcons, Supercats, Devils, Sydney, West Sydney, all the Melbournes (Giants, Spectres, Saints, Tigers), Bearcats ect ect.
Fans like me will be disappointed. (And please don't lump me (and people I know) in with "fans" who never showed up. They are not fans. We went to every home game (and some away) and have done for years. Through thick and thin, Through good draws and bad. Through club ownership, private ownership, community ownership, private ownership.
And dumping on Matt Campbell's efforts? As others have pointed out, he was a driving force to keep the Hawks in last time. And the Hawks then proceeded to make finals and a Grand Final. Their on-court performance this year was ordinary. Losing Brooks hurt. The replacement process hurt. Lamelo pulling the pin hurt. But I had a look at the record books. In every year, at least one team has finished last. In the last few years, the Hawks have made the finals more than some other teams. If on-court success is the sole determinant, next season let's all watch Perth play ... Perth ...
the Coach. You can't sugarcoat it. Matt Flynn showed himself as a former player who couldn't seem to make the jump to coach. Look at Scott Fisher and Andrew Gaze as other examples. Maybe his niche is as an assistant coach. That "stunt" with the whiteboard and laptops going through the imports, after Brooks got hurt, was ordinary. It was probably meant with the best of intentions but came across as amateurish. And didn't result in any outcomes. Until Preston/Hobson.
The venue. It sucks. The Hawks (and fans that do go) are screwed by them. It's not the Hawks fault that there was a leaky roof. Gladys can spend $100s of $1000000s on Sydney venues, but not a few shekels to revamp the WEC. And that wouldn't change how the venue is managed. It might've even resulted in cost increases to recoup the "investment". And their "coffee" is pricey warm frothy dishwater. (However, WEC is in a good location, near the beach and a restaurant precinct, so not all bad)
Imports: touched on above. Brooks was starting to show what he could do, then got injured. The replacement process was ordinary, to say the least. You can blame the budget, but the Hawks have unearthed some pretty good imports over the years. This wasn't handled well. Knowing what we now know about the financial situation, perhaps the provider of the finance was interfering more than he should have and he hamstrung the coaching staff? I don't know. But it didn't look good and didn't end well.
The "fans". I don't know why so-called fans don't go. I'm not one of them. People I know are like me and have gone for years, some driving up from Shoalhaven and Kiama, and down from teh Highlands. So, it's down to people who live in Wollongong who don't go. You can blame the draw with the Monday night games (and many have) but the NBA draw big crowds through the week. Our footie codes can draw people mid-week (but they do have a bigger presence in our social fabric) and even their mid-week crowds are not as big as weekend crowds.
Media: the local media is pretty good. They get good coverage in teh local rag and on the local TV station. Former news presenter, Geoff Phillips, was a long term fan and they used to have some basketball people at the Mercury. So, we can't blame that for the "fans".