CHICAGO - If Greg Slaughter were to star in his own movie, the title would sound like a Disney film offering.
He is, after all, a player without a team. And given his contract situation, a man trapped in a situation that is descending quickly from bad to ugly.
But even though he remains unsigned and ignored by his mother team, NorthPort, the 7-foot, 258-pound bulldozer is not unwanted and unloved.
According to multiple sources, the Meralco Bolts want to sign the 34-year old center and add size to their frontline.
Per the PBA rules, a player with an expired contract can talk to other teams without risking a tampering violation.
But here's the rub on Slaughter's case,
NorthPort already submitted to the league office a max contract offer of P420,000 a month, a move that implies the Batang Pier have exercised their rights on Greg and essentially boxing out other teams from securing his services.
Despite that contractual flex, it is clear as day that NorthPort has no intention of keeping Slaughter, throwing slander at him by saying he was "asking for the moon and the stars" when in fact, Greg was already making at least P800,000 a month on his previous deal, a source told SPIN.ph.
PAY THE MAN, OR LET HIM GO.
The Batang Pier are low-balling Greg, and given what's playing out right now in front of our disbelieving eyes, it wouldn't be a stretch to say they're blackballing him as well.
Adding Slaughter to a line-up that already has Raymond Almazan, Cliff Hodge and Chris Newsome will give Meralco the extra might and length to beat any team in the league, including bitter rival Ginebra.
In this past Governors' Cup conference, the Bolts were well on their way to beating the Gin Kings until Japeth Aguilar returned from a calf injury.
Slaughter will be the effective antidote to the 1-2 punch of Japeth and C-Stan.
The thought of Greg playing against Ginebra, the team that abandoned him by the wayside after he went on a sabbatical to better himself in the US before the global pandemic struck, is the stuff of must-see TV.
But given the chummy relationship between NorthPort manager Bonnie Tan and SMC director Al Chua, it is extremely unlikely that the Batang Pier will help weaponize the already -potent Bolts.
UNLESS OF COURSE A TRADE OFFER TO TEMPTING TO RESIST IS PROPOSED.
A package consisting of Mac Belo, Alvin Pasaol and a first-round pick in next year's draft would make sense for NorthPort to take in exchange for an asset it has no interest in using.
But logic and common sense always dribble out of the negotiating room when there is too much animosity in the air. And it's no secret that there is a lot of love lost between the gentle giant and the small team.
What's happening to Greg is a symptom of what ails the PBA.
The Commissioner's Office is allowing the SMC group to legally, but unfairly, stock up arms.
Look, SMC pried Simon Enciso from Terrafirma, only to watch him calcify in the San Miguel bench. The Gins, meanwhile, snatched No. 2 pick Jeremiah Gray also from gullible Terrafirma.
And now Greg is being locked up by NorthPort, which has close ties with the beer giant.
All these moves have one purpose: Prevent the other group from getting hold of precious talents,
Again, no league rules are being broken here by withholding and acquiring assets, but it is tilting the balance of power and killing the parity of competition.
Tama na. Sobra na, Kume Marcial.
Free Greg Slaughter.
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