Board reviews trade process

By Joaquin Henson

LOS ANGELES – It appears that the PBA Board of Governors will revisit the procedure in negotiating and approving player trades in light of the controversy raised by the recent swap of Kia’s first round draft pick, which turned out to be Christian Standhardinger, for three seldom-used San Miguel Beer veterans and a 2019 first round choice.

While the Board cancelled its planning session that was originally scheduled here yesterday because four governors begged off from taking the trip, informal talks went on among the attending eight governors and members of the PBA management committee led by commissioner Chito Narvasa. A hot topic was how to address future trades and avoid the howl of protest that was triggered by the Standhardinger deal.

A suggestion was made to create a committee on trades, made up of designated governors, that would be consulted by the commissioner before approving or disapproving a transaction. If there is a disagreement, the trade would be elevated to the Board for final adjudication. Another suggestion was to allow free exchanges without restricting direct trades between sister teams in the interest of transparency.

It is the PBA’s practice to disallow direct trades between sister teams so that conduits or third parties are brought in to finalize deals.  But the involvement of conduits is more of a convenience or accommodation, leading to questions of transparency.  Another suggestion is to adopt the so-called Stepien Rule of the NBA where a team is prohibited from trading its first round picks in successive years. Ted Stepien was the former Cleveland Cavaliers owner who traded the team’s five consecutive first round picks from 1982 to 1985, leading to disastrous results.  

The MVP Group controls three franchises, TNT, Meralco and NLEX while the San Miguel Corp. Group also owns three, San Miguel Beer, Barangay Ginebra and Star.  So the PBA has two sets of three sister teams. The independent franchises are Blackwater, Kia, GlobalPort, Rain Or Shine, Phoenix and Alaska.

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