TNT KaTropa team manager Gabby Cui has sent an ultimatum to Kelly Williams to explain within this week why he left the team without any notice on September 2 at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna during the team’s conditioning training.
“Kelly Williams left our training camp without any notice or explanation until now,” said Cui through a texted message. “He has not reached out to us ever since. We learned about his decision to retire via social media only. He is AWOL (absent without leave).”
Philippine Basketball Association chairman and team governor Ricky Vargas expressed his frustration over the action of the 6’6" power forward, saying it would result in a “very, very bad precedent.”
Williams, 38, the league’s 2008 Most Valuable Player, is known for his versatility and defense. He ended his 14 seasons in Asia’s first ever pro league last Monday, when he announced his retirement through a Facebook post.
The 2006 top overall pick had career averages of 10.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists.
After winning his first title with the defunct Sta. Lucia Realty in 2008, he moved to TNT in 2010, together with Ryan Reyes via trade. From there, Williams won five more titles despite suffering from various injuries.
But his retirement was not as simple as everyone thought, as TNT management wanted an explanation why it left the conditioning bubble training in Laguna without informing them since his contract was even extended until December 31 this year.
“We are currently waiting for his notice to explain his actions, on going AWOL, then we will decide by end of the week. Hopefully, he can give us an explanation by then.”
Willie Marcial, the league’s commissioner, said Williams’ rights will still remain with TNT even it expires this year. He cannot just easily sign up with another team in case he decides to come out of retirement and play again in the future.
TNT needs to sign his release papers first.