PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas reminded the existence of the right-of-first-refusal rule when asked if the league is open to allowing its players with expired contracts to explore options not just here but overseas as well.
The said ruling is where ball clubs retain the rights to their players even though their pacts have already lapsed, meaning that they could not just sign up with any other team as they would still need to be formally released.
It is the predicament Ray Parks faces now as even if his contract with TNT has yet to be renewed, he cannot sign with any team.
“If you look at the current rule, it’s that the team owns you forever until it releases you, right?” he said in a virtual presser Saturday.
Such a question was again brought to light when Kiefer Ravena made a bid to take his talents to Shiga in Japan’s B.LEAGUE, which the PBA has strongly opposed.
Asia’s pioneering pro league was quick to denounce the move, saying that the 27-year-old is not allowed to play elsewhere as he has to honor the contract he signed with mother team NLEX and the league per se.
And even if the Road Warriors have released him, there remains the Uniform Players Contract that binds him with the league.
The Board of Governors has remained firm in its stance, and it is set to communicate with the Japanese pro league regarding its decision.
The situation has merited mixed reactions from netizens, that some even suggested the concept of contract buyout in order for Ravena to play in Japan.
That was actually discussed by the board, according to Vargas, but the board said that it might be ‘very difficult’ for the league.
“Ganiyan ata yung sa NBA hindi ba? In NBA you just buy out the contract. You know, the consequence of that is very difficult for us, because the currency is much higher, right? And they can buy you out any time,” he said.
“So we were a little bit more careful in discussing that matter if we would allow a foreign team to buy out a contract of a player.”
The aforementioned topics, Vargas said, are already being discussed by the study group led by vice chairman Bobby Rosales. But they did not divulge any further what the proposed revisions of the rules could be.
“I think the committee of Vice Chairman has talked about that extensively and until such time he presents that to the board, we’re not in liberty to mention what the recommended policies to address issues such as that,” he said.