IT'S been almost a month now since the Star Hotshots started training camp for the coming PBA season, yet not even a shadow of Joe Devance has been seen at the Ronac Gym.
The prolonged absence has naturally sparked questions and started talk that the versatile swingman could be holding out, hoping to be reunited anew with longtime mentor Tim Cone.
Devance has been with Cone at Alaska before he sought a trade that led to his transfer to the BMEG Llamados shortly before the 18-time champion coach left the Aces camp to jump to the Purefoods franchise.
Last month, Cone was transferred by San Miguel Corporation management to Ginebra, leaving Devance at Star which will now be coached by rookie mentor Jason Webb.
"Ayaw daw lumaro ni Joe sa ibang coach eh. Kaya inaayos na ngayon kung paano siya malilipat sa Ginebra," said a source.
No less than SMC big boss Ramon S. Ang himself reportedly stepped in to address the stand-off and is said to have already talked to the sweet-shooting Fil-American player.
"Si Boss RSA na ang kumakausap sa kanya. And mukhang inaasikaso na ang negosasyon, whether he'll stay at Star o malilipat siya sa Ginebra para masunod kay Tim," the source added.
Ang has been very vocal in saying that he is bent on transforming Ginebra into a title contender team, something that he is doing to address a strong clamor from the fans.
The team owner, sources said, also stepped in to stop any move by Star guard Alex Mallari to Ginebra, in the belief that the tall and lanky combo guard is not the player the Kings need at this time.
"Ayaw daw ni Boss RSA na malipat si Alex sa Ginebra, kasi nakita rin niya na napamahal na sa fans ng Star si Mallari. So ang ginagawa ngayon is baka si Joe na ang malipat," he said.
Another source said if the situation isn't resolved, it is not far-fetched for Ginebra and Star to work on a Devance for Mac Baracael trade, which will need a conduit team to complete.
Information reaching Spin.ph revealed the deal might be included in ongoing negotiations between Star and Barako Bull over third-year guard RR Garcia.
"Yan ang initial plans, pero it can still change. Pero 'yun na nga, mismong si boss na ang pumasok para maplantsa ang problema," said the source.
Devance has been mum and his tweets confirm that he is still in the US as of posting time.