THE Indonesia Warriors were just being gracious to their former coach.
General manager Rudolf Tulus told Spin.ph the Warriors let go of American mentor Todd Purves "with a heavy heart" after he asked for a release when his two-year contract with the team expired, telling the team there are offers waiting him back in the US and elsewhere.
And not one to get in the way of an opportunity awaiting Purves, Tulus said he readily agreed to part ways with their longtime coach.
“We think that if we will keep him here in Indonesia, he will lose great opportunity to improve his coaching skills. That’s why it was fair for us to let him go,” said the Indonesian team official.
“We talked about the contract extension, but unfortunately he said there was a contract offer in the US and Latin America. So we agreed to part ways,” added Tulus.
Tulus admitted he was shocked to read a Spin.ph story that Purves is negotiating with San Miguel, the same team that dethroned the Warriors in the recent Asean Basketball League (ABL) Finals.
According to sources, the 43-year-old former video coordinator and scout for the Sacramento Kings had come to terms with San Miguel, although no official confirmation has so far been made by the team.
A source privy to the dealings said Purves already met personally with San Miguel president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang last on Friday night.
“Normally pag nakipag-pulong na kay boss, tapos na ang negosasyon nun,” affirmed the source, who refused to be identified pending the official announcement of the matter.
There’s no word yet on the exact job awaiting Purves, but multiple sources say an 'active' consultant role similar to the previous set-up of current coach Olsen Racela with Serbian mentor Rajko Toroman is likely to be adopted.
Purves returned to Indonesia on Sunday and left for the US the next day to join the Memphis Grizzlies coaching staff as a Summer League scout.
“After that, malamang babalik na siya rito,” added the same source, who expects Purves to stay in the US for more than two weeks.
Asked if the Warriors are aware of the San Miguel offer, Tulus appeared to be at a lost.
“We talked about it. We asked him about the story that came from the Philippines. But he said “No… he has not signed anything yet.
“Maybe I will just ask him about the agreement but I will not intervene. We are already on different ways. He knows what is best for him,” said Tulus, a confidante of Warriors team owner Erick Thohir.
Tulus tried to be diplomatic when queried if Purves’ action was disrespectful to the organization.
“Unethical? If you want to put on ethical debate, yeah, I think you can put that into consideration. But we are being professional. He can do whatever he wants to do and we will not intervene,” he added.
The Indonesian team manager likewise defended Purves, whom he describes as a `good person, who knows basketball so much.’
“Some people might think that it’s wrong he just left us. And now he’s with the other team. But that is his right to choose what is the best for him. I believe that there is no agreement yet and he has not signed anything yet,” said Tulus.
But what he recalls in his previous talks with Purves is that the American coach is no longer keen on coaching in the ABL.
“He just said he’s no longer coming back for any ABL team. That was his commitment to us.”
As for the controversial timeout Purves called in the dying seconds of Game Two of the ABL Finals, which many thought cost the Warriors the win against San Miguel, Tulus is giving the American the benefit of the doubt.
“From an ordinary people’s perspective, some will call it a gamble, but from our point of view, we respect his decision to make a call. We know he wanted to adjust his defensive strategy. We don’t want to put any color to that.”
The Warriors general manager said Indonesia is now trying to move on from the bitter experience and bared plans to hire another American coach to take the place of Purves.
“We really lost to a better team. We’re trying to move on and leaving everything behind. We are trying to form a better team for Season 5. We will bounce back next year,” he said.
And for not having Purves by next year, Tulus said, “He’s a big loss to us.”