Illawarra Hawks cut ties with unvaxxed import Travis Trice

The Illawarra Hawks have become the second NBL club in as many days to cut ties with a player due to their refusal to being vaccinated against COVID-19.

Import Travis Trice signed a one-year deal with the Hawks for the upcoming 2021/22 season, but the American guard, who mutually agreed to the decision with the club, will no longer venture Down Under.

"Sadly I won't be suiting up in a Hawks uniform this season," Trice said. "The decision was made in the best interests of both parties and I wish the Hawks all the best for the upcoming season."

Hawks president and co-owner Dorry Kordahi said while he is left disappointed, the circumstance is understandable.

"We fully respect Travis' views and freedom of choice in regards to the vaccine, but being unvaccinated was going to result in numerous challenges, especially as we are still firmly in the midst of the pandemic," Kordahi said.

"We wish Travis all the best but have immediately turned our attention to a replacement."

The decision follows that of the New Zealand Breakers, who released star Tai Webster for similar reasons despite re-signing with the club for two years in July.

The 26-year-old's anti-vax stance will limit his ability to play basketball and travel freely within Australia under restrictions to be imposed by state governments.

The Breakers are likely to begin the 2021-22 NBL season based in Australia because of international travel restrictions.

"Tai was amazing for us last year and we wish him the absolute best," Breakers owner Matt Walsh said.

"I fully support each player's freedom of choice in regards to the vaccine.

"The club will keep the door open for Tai, but unfortunately we are living in extraordinary times and without being vaccinated he will not have freedom of travel which would allow him to play for us this season."

The NBL will not mandate vaccinations for players or staff.

However, commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said this month the league "will continue to educate our people and will strongly recommend it (getting vaccinated)".