WITH a fallout between TNT and Bobby Ray Parks looking imminent, the question right now is where the player is headed.
Parks announced on Saturday that he will not be playing in the coming PBA season due to 'personal reasons,' just months after an outstanding performance in the bubble in which he helped TNT reach the Philippine Cup finals.
However, no less than TNT team owner Manny V. Pangilinan was quick to cast doubt on Parks' statement, posting on his official Facebook account a photo and a caption to blow up the player's reason for wanting to take a sabbatical.
With both parties trading jabs on social media, it appears that their relationship has been fractured beyond repair. At the moment, Parks has no contract as the one-year deal that he signed with TnT last year expired following the season.
So what’s next for Parks?
Many fans are saying that an option for Parks is to sign with another team since he is, technically, a free agent. PBA rules, however, are clear that TNT still holds the rights to sign him even though Parks’ contract has already expired.
The Tropang Giga, in fact, will hold the PBA signing rights unless they decide to release Parks without pre-conditions or trade him.
A trade particularly to the other big group in the PBA, San Miguel Corp., can also be ruled out for now, especially with the PBA season close and the three SMC teams already stacked with talent after a trading spree.
But how about the long-overdue implementation of unrestricted free agency by next year?
Parks is not yet covered by that new rule since the by-laws indicate that players will only turn unrestricted free agents at the end of his seventh season in the league. Parks was supposed to enter only his third season in the PBA.
Playing abroad could also be an option for Parks, a move he had already taken in the past after he suited up in the G League and in the Asean Basketball League (ABL). Those options, however, are limited due to the restrictions on travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic that are not expected to return to normal anytime soon.
Of all the possible options outside the Philippines, Parks can also scratch the option of playing in the Japan B.League, the same league where Thirdy Ravena is currently playing as an Asian import.
SPIN.ph learned that Parks is a dual citizen and under the rules of the B.League, players holding dual citizenship are not allowed to play as an Asian import.
From the looks of things, opportunities elsewhere outside TNT could be few and far between for Parks.