Eagles are set to finally ditch their interest in re-signing last season’s player of the year Tony Dorsey in favour of former BBL All-Star Lynard Stewart. A deal for Stewart is now looking increasingly likely, and the club’s fans will be heartened by news former favourite Charles Smith will almost certainly be joining the club in the next fortnight.
In fact, it looks like being an eventful week, with a major announcement on the future of the club set for early next week and Fab Flournoy finally making progress on his summer targets. If the player-coach can secure the services of both Smith and Stewart, then his next move is likely to be resolving the futures of the other big men from last season in Olu Babalola, Darius Defoe and Tom Sherlock. It looks like the talented but still-raw Defoe is the most likely to return out of the trio, with the future of the other two still hanging in the balance.
Flournoy, however, is keen to retain their services and is acutely aware Babalola is being chased by a host of clubs. Quite where this all leaves last year’s MVP Tony Dorsey remains to be seen. Should Stewart have a last-minute change of heart and plump for another option elsewhere, then the door would remain open for Dorsey. In the meantime, it is very much a game of cat and mouse at the moment as far as Dorsey is concerned.
With time running out, Flournoy is less likely to look at the veteran forward as he is desperate to have his team settled in the next few weeks to allow around a month of pre-season work. In the guard positions, it is likely the irrepressible Andrew Bridge will be coming off the bench in his familiar role as sixth man, and that leaves Flournoy with a decision to make on both Jeremy Hyatt and TJ Walker’s replacement. While Hyatt’s ability is not in question, there was that infamous bust-up between Flournoy and the talented guard, and it remains to be seen whether he will be invited back having been with the club since 2001.
Replacing Walker will be the real acid test for Flournoy – and it will be intriguing to see if he can meet the playmaker’s own plea earlier in the year for the club to be ambitious and make a big signing whether he returned or not. Although things might have gone quiet on the Richard Midgley front in the last fortnight, the protracted negotiations with the Great Britain star have continued behind the scenes to keep the possibility of a sensational deal very much alive.