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While the Vic Manuel trade demand is an appeal in favor of player empowerment, Kyrie Irving bursts the bubble and has team owners saying, “I told you so.” Irving is a player who will make $34 million this season, probably enough to fund an entire PBA team, or maybe even the entire league.
For someone being paid that much to simply decide not to show up to multiple games and cite personal reasons (that’s actually what the Brooklyn Nets listed), while most rank-and-file employees even need to present a medical certificate for calling in sick for a day — sounds unfair.
That is the way of the world, though. It is the triumph of the American Dream. If you are a highly-valued talent, the world is at your fingertips.
Meanwhile, Manuel’s statements have sobered down. He no longer says “never” when he refers to playing for Alaska. “Malay mo magkasundo.”
Kyrie Irving is a world-level icon, he has his own shoe line at Nike, when only a handful of players had their name as a brand. There are only 16 NBA players who have that since Carmelo Anthony’s line was discontinued. He even has Hollywood movies (“Uncle Drew”). It seems weird for someone of his stature to just quit — but now he’s been described as “off the grid.” The Brooklyn Nets who are paying him that astronomical amount do not even know where he is, as they claim.
Irving got his wish — he wanted out of Cleveland, away from LeBron James’ shadow. He didn’t want to stay in Boston, and as an absolute free agent, chose to join the Nets with Kevin Durant. Meanwhile, the PBA players could never get to choose their team. For example, Asi Taulava had said before that he wanted to play for Ginebra — he probably won’t get that chance.
Every player in the PBA who sought to play hardball with their teams ended up on the losing end. Now, the team owners can say that they don’t want to have a case like Kyrie Irving. Yes, that’s also unfair. But then again, we need to wait for Irving to resurface and explain his side.
Greg Slaughter did not come to terms with Barangay Ginebra, and rumors swirled that the Gin Kings were signing him with the intention of trading him. Slaughter allegedly wanted no part of it. He took the full season off with no paycheck. But he returned and went back to negotiate. He cannot waste anymore of his prime years, as he is 32 years old.
Kyrie may return, and play again for the Nets, and this episode may simply be a footnote. If he plays brilliantly again — which he did before he left, then all’s well that ends well. We hope the same can be said of PBA players, like Greg Slaughter and Vic Manuel.
James Harden or Bradley Beal
Will there be a blockbuster trade amid the chaos of this NBA season? We’ve always said it was James Harden, but Harden’s play has tapered off, and his projected most ardent suitor, the Sixers, got a great start.
Meanwhile, Bradley Beal is languishing in the Westbrook warp — where he has a passionate, stat-filling teammate but somehow, they don’t win.
The Miami Heat can still build a package for Harden — or Beal. Pat Riley may be weighing, measuring, and contemplating.
If you had a chance to trade for Harden or Beal, which one would you pursue? Houston is likely to demand more for Harden, and the Wizards, on the other hand, have no intention of trading Bradley Beal. But their star is as disgruntled as anyone.
Both Beal and Harden are under contract, but that doesn’t seem to matter anymore. Will these two players wear the same jerseys at season’s end? They cannot be traded for each other, as their sidekicks already switched places.
The easy answer is that Harden is more likely to be traded, but what if the reason why no team has pulled the trigger is that the GMs believe they can have a chance at Beal, who is younger and less interested in strip clubs.
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