Key NorthPort stars holding out for much bigger contracts despite max offer
MANILA, Philippines–NorthPort’s situation as the PBA Governors’ Cup gets ready to resume may be something the league’s hierarchy will need to look at.
The Batang Pier are trying to snap a winless start and hopefully make a playoff run when the season-ending tournament resumes, but they might be doing so without their two best players and a role-playing point guard, who have all opted to hold out in signing fresh contracts.
The reason for the holdout? At least two of the players—Greg Slaughter and Robert Bolick—are asking beyond what is being offered by the team. But with NorthPort management already offering the maximum, what more could the players want and why do they think they’re going to get it?
Slaughter and Bolick could not be reached for comment but two sources told the Inquirer that both are reportedly asking for the moon—and the stars—despite maximum contract extension offers.
“Greg is asking more than four times than what is being offered,” the source said, giving the Inquirer a ballpark figure that could not be confirmed at press time.
This marks the second time Slaughter is holding out from a contract extension. The former Ateneo star in the UAAP also bolted Barangay Ginebra when his deal with the Kings expired. Ginebra won a championship in the first tournament it played without the celebrated big man.
NorthPort’s offer, both sources said, are P420,000 a month each for the two players. Bolick, who has been a league revelation ever since suiting up for Gilas Pilipinas a couple of years back, also wants a lot more than that. Bolick has been linked to a transfer to Japan.
The problem is the Batang Pier cannot offer any amount beyond that despite management’s hope to retain both as the cornerstones of the franchise. League rules bar NorthPort from offering beyond the maximum.
Playmaker Nico Elorde, meanwhile, was offered a two-year extension for much less—an amount management feels fits his ability and role in the team. Elorde turned it down and also asked for a lot more.
“The offers for them (Slaughter and Bolick) are still on the table,” another source confirmed to the Inquirer. “They can still sign before we play again, and it’s most likely they get to see action right away.”
Another NorthPort insider who also requested anonymity said Slaughter and Bolick have not “showed up in team affairs after their respective pacts expired.”
“It’s like saying that they really don’t want to be on this team,” the third source said. “They haven’t played in months and they got paid; is it hard to show some kind of gratitude for that?”
The Batang Pier are 0-4 and will take on dangerous Rain or Shine on Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, and NorthPort would need to win games in bunches if it wants to make a run at the playoffs.
After their clash with the Elasto Painters, the Batang Pier tangle with another formidable side in Meralco on Thursday next week.
In order to put warm bodies in the roster, NorthPort signed Roi Sumang, Alvin Abundo and a third player in rookie free agent Chris Dumapig.
Jamel Artis, incidentally, will be making his debut as the NorthPort import on Saturday, taking over Cameron Forte.
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