The future of Kia Picanto will be on top of the agenda on Thursday’s PBA board meeting as several board members expressed concern over the controversial deal between the young franchise and the San Miguel Beermen.
Questions were raised following the Picanto’s move to trade their first round overall pick in the upcoming draft to the already-loaded Beermen, who initially offered veteran Jay-R Reyes, Rashawn McCarty and the team’s first round pick this season.
Several revisions were made by San Miguel in able for the deal to push through. PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa hasn’t given the green light to the trade.
“I haven’t made a decision yet,” wrote Narvasa in a text message to InterAksyon on Wednesday.
Owners of Kia and San Miguel have business ties, and their relationship alarmed some of the board members.
This year, San Miguel acquired a majority stake in BMW distributor Asian Carmakers Corp. previously owned by Jose Alvarez who also chairs Columbian Autocars Corporation, the franchise which runs Kia in the PBA.
Narvasa sees no conflict in the deal but some board members are expected to raise the issue on Thursday.
Salary cap violation?
Meanwhile, Alaska Aces boss Wilfred Steven Uytengsu expressed disappointment over the lopsided Kia-SMB deal.
“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,” Uytengsu said in a statement.
“There is already a lot of about Kia benefiting financially if this trade were to go through and you have to wonder if they are even making the league minimum salary cap.”
Uytengsu also raised the alleged salary cap violations of loaded SMC squads, an issue which has been hounding the league for years now.
“If you look at the composition of SMB and Ginebra, you will see they are stacked with first to third picks. Many of those players came to them from curious trades,” he said.
“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, playing those players, all at approved maximum PBA salaries while still maintaining a strong sixth to eighth players. I’ve done the match and it doesn’t work.”