THREE teams from the Chinese Basketball Association are seriously courting TNT Katropa star guard Jayson Castro, sources told SPIN.ph on Thursday.
Hailed as one of the top point guards in Asia, Castro, sources said, has received feelers from Chinese teams which want to utilize him as Asian import for the coming 3-month season of the CBA - a league that of late has attracted some former NBA stars like Josh Smith and Carlos Boozer.
According to a source, one Chinese team, once it got wind that Castro has yet to sign a new contract with TNT, has dangled a US$300,000 or P14 million for a three-month deal.
Contacted for comment, Castro's longtime agent, Danny Espiritu, confirmed that the Gilas Pilipinas has yet to sign a new contract with TNT, ten days before the start of the new PBA season.
Espiritu also confirmed there have been feelers from some Chinese teams, but said they are only giving the three Chinese teams until Thursday evening to make a concrete offer or they will start negotiating with TNT on a new contract.
"May alok nga sa China. Kaso walang formal offer kaya di ko masyado pinapansin. Hindi naman tayo hao ciao (peke). Kung gusto nila si Jayson, mag-offer sila," said Espiritu who also revealed that the teams courting Castro belong to the bottom half of the standings in last CBA season.
"Basta I am giving them (CBA teams) until today to send us an offer," he added.
Bottom teams in the CBA are allowed to sign one Asian player to go with other foreign reinforcements whose stints in games are restricted under league rules.
Castro is no longer new to playing overseas as he once donned the Singapore Slingers jersey before he joined the PBA draft in 2008.
It is also not the first time news of a possible Castro move to China has cropped up, the TNT star playing down the chances back in July.
Castro did not join TNT in a tune-up game versus the Mahindra Enforcers on Thursday, with one person close to the former PCU Dolphin saying he has just come from a family vacation in Abu Dhabi.
"Pagod pa si Jayson eh. Nagrequest talaga siya na bigyan aiya ng extra time to rest kasi bugbog talaga katawan niya," said the person who requested anonymity.
But a source bared the best-case scenario is for Castro to be allowed to play in the CBA for three months then rejoin TNT at the end of the deal in February.
The problem however is if and when Castro accepts the CBA offer, he will miss TNT's campaign in the Philippine Cup which starts on November 20.
The development has reportedly prompted TNT team owner Manny V. Pangilinan to schedule a one on one meeting with Castro within the week to discuss the ballclub's offer for a contract renewal.
Espiritu said he expects TNT to make counter offer on Saturday.