One-time assistant coach Brett Smith refused to take a cent from the owners of last year's Southern Huskies.
The highly-regarded and knowledgeable Launceston mentor could not commit to most nights away from home.
Given the franchise made for Tasmania packed up its brand out of hibernation and sledded into Auckland on Friday in a stunning return to the New Zealand NBL amid remaining unpaid debts, the call was just as well for Smith.
Huskies coach Anthony Stewart had first handpicked Smith to sit on the bench as a sounding board next to the 489-game NBL playing great.
But the firmly established real estate agent by day took on a more silent off-the-court role for the side by night.
"I didn't want to get any money at all because once you start getting money you have to commit 100 per cent and I just couldn't do that," Smith said.
"I just told them I couldn't commit every single session - sometimes two sessions a day, four times a week it was.
"I was never able to commit to that from Launceston.
"So I did a lot of the scouting stuff [of other teams].
"There are other ways of doing it, but I just never ever mentioned money - I never did it for that reason.
"When I stayed in Hobart, they just covered my expense and put me up in a hotel. It worked well because it was a different role to our other assistant.
"I could see things from afar and not be involved in the day-to-day process, but still speaking to Stewy three or four times a week."
ELSEWHERE IN SPORT
Smith loved his time in the background of the games that were played above the hoop, a style Tasmania had rarely witnessed, but was lost for words when the Huskies owners switched allegiances.
The move to be renamed, Auckland Huskies, has only continued the acrimonious split with angry creditors.
Not only multiple coaches, players and general manager Andy Hollands are allegedly still chasing up owed wages, but Glenorchy City council, Kingborough council and Basketball Victoria have bills combined in the vicinity of six figures yet to be settled.
Owners still have $60,000 to pay back from a $200,000 state government grant.
The Examiner contacted some of those out of pocket that declined to comment.
"I had no idea at all. I haven't been in touch with the owners since. I can't tell you much at all," Smith said.
The Huskies only emerged with bidding to join the NBL after noticing a Tasmanian vacancy in its own market.
A knock back during NBL expansion in favour of South East Melbourne Phoenix had the entity turning elsewhere.
But once Larry Kestelman, the high-profile NBL owner, was not convinced last year the Huskies were the right fit to run the new Tasmanian NBL club, the organisation abandoned plans in the state.
"I was disappointed when they pulled out because they put a lot of their own money into it," Smith said.
But Smith does not resent the 14 weeks in the league was all bad for the state.
"Their push helped the conversation of Tasmania getting an NBL side - no doubt about that," he said.
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