ALASKA Aces team owner Wilfred Steven Uytengsu questioned the potential trade between Kia and San Miguel Beer that could send consensus first overall pick Christian Standhardinger to powerhouse San Miguel Beer.
“The purpose of the draft is to strengthen the weaker teams. However, what we have seen lately is these weaker teams end up selling their top draft picks because if you look at who is being traded in return, it clearly doesn’t make basketball sense for the weaker teams, unless there is other consideration,” said Uytengsu.
“There is already a lot of talk about Kia benefitting financially if this trade were to go through and you have to wonder if they are even making the league minimum salary cap.”
Another concern Uytengsu expressed was league balance and salary cap compliance. He noted that SMB and Barangay Ginebra are stacked with high picks which came to them through curious trades. SMB’s starting five is: June Mar Fajardo (No. 1 pick), Arwind Santos (No. 2 pick), Alex Cabagnot (No. 2 pick), Chris Ross (No. 3 pick) and Marcio Lassiter (No. 4 pick).
Ginebra has Greg Slaughter (No. 1 pick), Japeth Aguilar (No. 1 pick), Joe Devance (No. 1 pick), Kevin Ferrer (No. 3 pick), LA Tenorio (No. 4 pick) and Scottie Thompson (No. 4 pick).
“It’s difficult to comprehend how a team can fit within the team salary cap, paying those players all at approved maximum PBA salaries while still maintaining a strong sixth through eighth players. I’ve done the math and it doesn’t work,” said Uytengsu.
The Commissioner’s responsibility is to enforce league rules such as the salary cap (team and individual), as well as ensure that dubious trades are not allowed. So I’m trusting he will do the right thing for the PBA.