Trade frenzy in the PBA

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - March 7, 2021 - 12:00am

Never in the PBA’s history has there been so much activity in terms of player movements during an offseason as what’s happening now with the draft coming close on March 14 and the season tipped to start on April 9. Teams are locking in cornerstone players with two or three-year extensions, sidelining marginals to make room for new hires, chasing desirables in their wish lists and preparing for bigger wars ahead.

Check out the marquee players who’ve recently switched sides. Vic Manuel went to Phoenix, Greg Slaughter to NorthPort, Christian Standhardinger to Ginebra, Mac Belo to Meralco, Baser Amer to Blackwater, Chris Banchero to Phoenix, Calvin Abueva to Magnolia and CJ Perez to San Miguel Beer. The frenzy hasn’t spared role players. MJ Ayaay moved to Ginebra, Brian Heruela to Alaska, Bryan Faundo to Blackwater, Sidney Onwubere and Clint Doliguez to NorthPort, Bradwyn Guinto to Rain or Shine, Russel Escoto, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser and Gelo Alolino to Terrafirma, Gab Banal and Yousef Taha to Alaska and Dave Marcelo, Glenn Khobuntin and Ping Exciminiano to TNT. Additionally, Kelly Williams was signed to a fresh two-year contract by TNT after sitting out last conference.

Among the players who’ve been signed two or three-year renewals were Alaska’s Jeron Teng (three), Phoenix’ Justin Chua (three), Abueva (three), Magnolia’s Mark Barroca (three), Phoenix’ RR Garcia (two), NLEX’ Raul Soyud (two) and TNT’s Simon Enciso (two).  Those who were inked to one-year extensions included Meralco’s Reynel Hugnatan, Noy Baclao and Jammer Jamito, NorthPort’s Nico Elorde, Paolo Taha, Jervy Cruz, Jonathan Grey, LA Revilla and Renzo Subido, Phoenix’ Jansen Rios, Terrafirma’s Eric Camson, Rashawn McCarthy, Jeepy Faundo, Juami Tiongson, Reden Celda, Joseph Gabayni, Bon-Bon Batiller and JP Calvo, NLEX’ AC Soberano, Kyles Lao, JR Quinahan and Michael Miranda and TNT’s Lervin Flores, Samboy de Leon, Chris Javier and Almond Vosotros.

Draft picks also figured in negotiating trades. Alaska got Phoenix’ first and second round picks this year and its first pick in Season 47. Phoenix took Alaska’s first and second round picks this year. Phoenix and Magnolia also swapped first round picks in the Abueva deal. Clearly, the order of selection is critical in the coming draft because a team won’t want to wait too long for the chance to choose.

Here are five reasons why teams are hot to trade. Firstly, they’re positioning for the deep draft where blue-chippers are up for grabs. It’s not often so many can’t-miss rookies are available in a single draft. Secondly, there is looming parity and teams are out to get a leg up on others. In the last conference, two teams tied for first and five for third at the end of the eliminations. Thirdly, no team wants to be left behind in fortifying its troops. This is almost like an arms race. Fourthly, now is the time to reassess lineups with free agents and rookies ready to jump in. Every player in the roster must be serviceable. And lastly, there are increasing opportunities to grow the game regionally so teams are hoping to be at the forefront of the boom.

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