PBA commissioner Chito Salud has warned players with existing contracts from negotiating with another team, lest they be charged with tampering.
Salud issued the warning amid the trade saga involving Rain or Shine superstar combo guard Paul Lee, who, over the weekend, has told the team that he wants to be traded.
“I want to make this clear, to all our players, you cannot simply be whimsical or capricious in your desire to be traded because our fans will ask you why you want to be traded,” Salud said on Sunday just before the start of the 2014 Gatorade PBA Annual Rookie Draft at the activity center of Robinsons Place in Ermita.
“Anybody who talks prematurely to a player who still has a live contract can be found guilty of tampering with a live contract,” he added.
Lee’s contract is set to expire at the end of August, though he has already made it clear through his adviser and agent Lawrence Chongson, that he wants to be traded.
Salud added it is understandable for fans to be perplexed by Lee's decision to seek a trade when the Elasto Painters, the team he had played for during his first three years as a pro, have already offered him a three-year maximum extension deal worth P15.12 million.
“It‘s very important to know that our fans are at the very least interested in finding out the situation of Paul Lee and Rain or Shine,” he said.
“Many of them (fans) are perplexed given the fact that the offer on the table supposedly is already the maximum salary allowed under the rules, so what possible reason could Paul Lee have for asking to be traded?” added Salud.
“I agree with coach Yeng that they must talk, that Rain or Shine and Paul Lee must talk and sort this out. And I’m confident they can sort it out.”
The PBA commissioner said he doesn’t intend to meddle in the issue between Rain or Shine and Lee, who currently is in Spain with Gilas Pilipinas. but should both parties need him to arbitrate, his office is open to help out, he added.
“The Office of the Commissioner is open for arbitrations should the parties feel that they are not going to reach an agreement or settlement,” said Salud.