By Waylon Galvez
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel has just hung a big ‘Hands Off!’ sign on Greg Slaughter.
With a contract offer already in place, the ball is now in the ‘big hands’ of the 7-foot-Slaughter if he would sign and play for Barangay Ginebra starting this season.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone confirmed Friday that the team has made an offer to Slaughter, officially keeping the rights on the 7-foot center with the Kings.
“From my understanding, yes,” said Cone in a text message when asked if they had offered Slaughter a contract.
The Manila Bulletin also reached out to Ginebra governor Alfrancis Chua, but he has yet to respond as of press time.
The league opens its 45th season on March 8 with the Philippine Cup, although the Kings won’t kick off their title campaign until March 14 – against the Blackwater Elite in Balanga, Bataan.
Ginebra’s move before the end of February averted a situation that would allow Slaughter to sign up with any ballclub as an unrestricted free agent.
“Once the team offers you a maximum allowed contract, the rights stay with the mother club,” said a source, who asked not to be named since he is authorized to talk about the situation.
“If you don’t sign, after one year the player goes back to his team and talk about the deal. So the bottom line is, because now there is an offer from Ginebra, Slaughter has no other option but to talk to the team because that team owns the rights.”
A sign-and-trade scenario could also materialize if Slaughter asks for it, although it will be up to Ginebra to decide, depending on the availability of quality players it could get from a potential trade partner.
“All these are possible, including ‘sign-and-trade’ but a player still needs to talk to his team,” said the source.
The PBA, for its part, can only mediate depending on the situation.
“Titignan natin yung by-Laws ng PBA kung darating tayo dun,” said PBA commissioner Willie Marcial when asked what would happen if Slaughter refuses to sign the offer. “Pero kahit pa isa o limang taon na ayaw pa rin niya pumirma, ang rights nasa Ginenra pa rin kasi may offer na sila.”
Slaughter helped Ginebra win a championship in the last PBA Governors’ Cup, although he surprised everyone when he announced on his social medial platform his desire to rest for three to four months.
Cone, during the PBA Media Day on Thursday Thursday at Okada Manila, said that he understands Slaughter’s situation and believes an early retirement is not an option for the center, who is reportedly in the States.
“Based on my conversations with him, I don’t think he’s out forever. I don’t think he’s retiring. I think he really needs a mental break,” Cone told sportswriters.