Team manager Paolo Trillo told me so in a telephone conversation.
So, how much does it cost to employ a former NBAer of his caliber?
Unfortunately, like all PBA executives, Trillo is sworn to silence when it comes to money matters involving players' contracts, a duty he solemnly fulfilled despite my relentless prodding.
Eventually, a source told me that Muhammad's deal was for $40,000 a month.
After landing in Manila and straight into the lap of desperate San Miguel, the current deal Shabazz scored is "around $50,000 a month."
It's a lot of beer money but still a significantly small fraction of the monthly average of $337,224 that Shabazz pulled from the Shanxi Brave Dragons in the 2018 and 2019 seasons. per sportrac.com.
IF YOU'RE WONDERING WHY THE SIGNIFICANT PAY CUT, LISTEN UP.
Shabazz tore his ACL in 2019. He hasn't hooked up with a team in China since and was waived by the Grand Rapids Gold of the G League after a three-day stint with the team last December.
But ACL tears are no longer a guaranteed career-killer. Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls is proof of that.
That's what the Beermen are hoping for in the 6-foot-6, 222-pound gem who was taken 14th overall in the 2013 NBA draft.
A pure scorer, a lefty with a hair-trigger release, Shabazz is a juggernaut that elevates the Beermen from the throes of a 4-3 purgatory and into the heavenly bliss of championship contention.
According to his NBA scouting report, these are the best ways to contain the 29-year old Las Vegas native who tends to develop "tunnel vision" when blanketed with multiple defenders.
"Let him put the ball on the floor and force him to go to his right."
EASIER SAID THAN DONE.
Shabazz, whose NBA stops include Minnesota and Milwaukee, is smart at using screens and he has a 6-foot-11 wingspan that allows him to shoot over smaller wings. He is also a gifted athlete with world-class speed.
But every conversation about Shabazz always circles back to whether he is 100 percent healthy.
Once he completes all the paperwork required to play as an import in the PBA (A G League clearance, passing a physical and a drug test among others), Shabazz is scheduled to play as early as Sunday.
If he shines against Magnolia, arguably the best defensive team in the PBA, and shows the same smoothness of mobility that has made him a five-star recruit, then any doubts about his health are moot.
But if he doesn't have any explosiveness, favors one leg over the other, and chucks way too many outside shots because driving to the hoop is no longer easy as it used to be, then San Miguel better keep Orlando Johnson on hand as a back-up.
Can't wait to find out if the Beermen got the real deal, or the broken shell of what was once was an elite talent.
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