Chima Moneke faces an uncertain future after the Canberra product was released by the South East Melbourne Phoenix.
Moneke was signed by the NBL expansion franchise under the provision he gained Australian local player status by July 1 - a requirement the Nigerian-born rising star is unable to fill.
The 198 centimetre, 101 kilogram forward could yet be added to South East Melbourne's training roster after Deng Acuoth was signed to fill the final local player spot.
Phoenix coach Simon Mitchell said signing Moneke on a one-year deal was a "no-brainer" but the contract included a clause stating he had to be naturalised in time for pre-season, having come to Australia on a diplomatic passport. Now the rising star's immigration lawyers have informed the club it is not possible.
"We're really disappointed, he is a lovely kid. We were really excited for him to come in. He's lived his whole life in Australia, it's a real shame with the way it's panned out for him," Mitchell said.
"To play in front of his family, his friends, and the country he calls home, it's an unfortunate circumstance. We'd love to get him in uniform if we can at some stage, we'll just have to wait this one out and see what the process is.
"He needs to sit down with his agent and discuss what is the pathway forward. Doe he continue to play in Europe as an import over there or does he stay home?
"I don't know the reason for him not getting his papers done, and I don't know what pathway he needs to take to have those done.
"If he is here but can't play, we'll treat him as part of the team and he can stay with us as long as he needs to. Hopefully we get that paperwork and he can come play for us.
"At this point in time it's all a little bit new, and he is out of the country. We'll talk to him when he gets over here, and we will treat him as part of the team until we all know what's going on."
Moneke is preparing to bring down the curtain on his season with French club Denain Voltaire before plotting his next move.