Slaughter fate up in the air

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    GREG Slaughter caught everybody by surprise when he announced over the weekend that he is taking a basketball sabbatical after his contract with Barangay Ginebra expired recently.

    Apparently, it didn’t help that Ginebra and NorthPort about to finalize a deal that would send the 7-foot-1 center plus rookie draft pick Jerrick Balanza to the Batang Pier for Christian Standhardinger.

    “Nag-uusap pa,” a NorthPort insider told Malaya-Business Insight yesterday.

    “Depende lahat iyan kung ano ang magiging final decision ni Slaughter,” added the source.
    Slaughter, whose contract with Ginebra expired at the end of the 2019 season, announced through social media late Saturday that he is taking a break from his playing career.

    “With that, now that my contract has expired, I’ve decided to take a break to be able to work on myself in all aspects,” Slaughter posted on his Instagram account, gregslaughter.

    “I may not know what the future holds, but one thing is for sure, the best is yet to come,” added Slaughter.

    Even Ginebra coach Tim Cone was caught unawares. “I am out of town at the moment and I don’t have any news of Greg at this time,” Cone said in a text message. “We plan to speak with him and his agent over the next couple of days.”

    The announcement also stalled the trade talk, which the insider said was “almost a done deal.”

    “Iyon ang naging problem, so kailangan pang pag-usapan kung paano ngayon iyung trade,” said the source.

    “Siyempre, kung hindi magbabago ng isip si Slaughter, wala na iyung trade unless may ibang package na mabuo and acceptable to the team (NorthPort).”

    The Batang Pier want Slaughter to be in their fold, that’s why they readily entertained the trade offer from Ginebra despite the prospects of losing Standhardinger.

    Since coming over from a trade with San Miguel Beer last mid-October, Standhardinger made an immediate impact for NorthPort, powering the team to a first PBA semifinals appearance in the last Governors Cup.

    The 6-foot-7 Fil-German was even named as Best Player of the Conference.

    It’s just that the chance to have a seven-footer in one’s lineup is hard to pass up on, according to the source.

    “Nakita na iyan in the last Commissioner’s Cup,” said the insider, referring to the last mid-season conference where the Batang Pier finished second in the eliminations led by seven-foot Prince Ibeh.

    “Ibeh was a rebounder, shot blocker and a totally dominant inside presence,” added the source. “Slaughter can do all those things and he is a much better scorer than Ibeh.”

    It now all depends on whether Slaughter is ready to become a Batang Pier.

    Otherwise, he could find a basketball comeback hard since Ginebra would still own the rights to him per league rules or trade such rights to another team.

    “First and foremost, lahat iyan nakasalalay kay Slaughter,” said the source.

    Slaughter was drafted the top overall pick by Ginebra in 2013 has played for the Kings since then. He won the Rookie of the Year award in 2014 and was a member of the Kings’ last four championship teams.