Act smartly or be left picking up the crumbs was the edict from the franchise board - so the Hawks have responded with a cluster of signings.
Board chairman Keith Price says the decree is to fill 80 per cent of the roster by the end of this month.
"The main aim was to get some key players signed up because everyone else is signing them up early," says Price after revealing Jarrod Kenny's return. Fellow co-skipper Everard Bartlett was signed in September.
"He's a true professional, JK. He has standards. In the few years I've had some involvement with him he's a model for any basketballer."
Kenny, a point guard and Tall Black, is on the roster of the Perth Wildcats, who are the defending champions competing in the 2017-18 Australian National Basketball League now.
"The [NBL] season here starts a bit later next year - a month later - so, hopefully, we shouldn't have any problems and have all our players here to start the season," says Price.
The players on the 2018 National Basketball League (NBL) roster of the Taylor Corporation-sponsored team are Tall Black guard Dion Prewster, forward Kareem Johnson, and newbies Mitch Newton and Hyrum Harris.
Ex-Hawk Prewster left on Sunday for Germany to ply his trade for Uni Baskets Paderbon in the ProA league.
Veteran Johnson also returns to the fold but Price is expecting the American-born power forward to become a "local player" before the NBL tips off in late April, as New Zealand Immigration handles his application.
"He's going through the process and we're pretty confident he'll get his citizenship prior to the season," Price says, revealing franchise general manager Kevin Wagg was involved.
The NBL regulations allow for three imports next season but Price says the Hawks want only two.
Among the out-of-town recruits include Newton, a forward, who is part of the New Zealand Breakers development squad.
Another young tall timber is Harris, who represented James Blond Supercity Rangers last winter.
"He's come through the system and had a season in Oregon and hails from Hamilton."
New Hawks coach Zico Coronel, a Wellington high-school teacher, will be in Napier this weekend for trials to scout Bay talent.
Price says negotiations are under way to sign two imports to mould the template of the team.
"Zico's got it well sussed and that's pretty assuring. His enthusiasm for basketball is pretty amazing," Price says of the 34-year-old career assistant coach, who is excited about his first foray into the domain of head coaching.
Adopting a powerful professional approach to the new season is high on the agenda for the Hawks, who haven't made the playoffs for a few seasons.
Price believes victory is the catalyst for building a loyal fan base in any code .
"But we also want to have a development programme ... because we don't have seven-foot [2.1m] people around in New Zealand."
Finding a delicate balance will be imperative for the Hawks so putting in place structures to provide a pathway for young talent is vital while pursuing excellence.
"We want to give every local boy a chance to be in the squad but making the starting line-up is another thing."
Last season their campaign hit a judder bar when regular coach Kirstin Daly-Taylor, a former Tall Fern, resigned midway through the campaign to terminate her contract in the second year into a five-year term.
Board member Benny Hill, a former Tall Black and Hawk, accepted the challenge from the franchise to mentor the hapless Hawks through to the end of the season.
Hill had reapplied for the job but a panel including Price, Wagg and Basketball New Zealand administrator Natu Taufale had opted for Coronel.
While the 38-year-old was disappointed and had contemplated withdrawing from the board, Price was expecting him at the final meeting last night.