AS Paul Lee's expressed desire to leave Rain or Shine continues to befuddle PBA fans, one question is begging to be answered.
Who's going after the wantaway Gilas star?
Before fingers started being pointed at them, Talk 'N Text alternate governor Patrick Gregorio was quick to deny any move, as of late, to lure the former University of the East Red Warrior into the MVP group's fold.
Gregorio, who is also the incoming chairman of the pro league, also reiterated to Spin.ph that though the Texters have an ageing backcourt, there was any approach or talks with Lee up until this point.
"Wala pa kaming move, honestly. And Rain or Shine officials know that," said the Smart Sports big boss.
"Actually, kausap nga namin sila ngayon eh. Pero ibang transaction," hinted Gregorio.
The high-ranking official made the denial before speculations of any move for Lee get out of hand since the MVP group has access to Lee at this time. The former Rookie of the Year is currently with the Smart-backed Gilas team in Spain preparing for the Fiba World Cup.
"No, we will not do that. And besides, no one from our officials in Spain is authorized to talk to Paul Lee or any other players," said Gregorio.
"Paul Lee is a gem. But we have to respect his contract with RoS. We will not make any move unless ROS says he is on the trading block," added the former Ten Outstanding Young Men awardee.
Gregorio claimed that it has been a philosophy of Talk 'N Text and the MVP group to follow the protocol when it comes to trade transactions.
"If we want a player, we will talk to his team officials. Not to him or to his agent. Right now, you can ask all Rain or Shine bosses, wala pa kaming efforts na ginagawa," he said.
Talk 'N Text's sister team Meralco Bolts also denied making any move to pursue Lee.
"We've never spoken to him, we've never initiated any type of interest in any way," said Meralco team manager Paolo Trillo, who claimed earlier negotiations with Rain or Shine involved the team's draft picks in Sunday's rookie draft.
Even the newest member of the MVP group, NLEX Warriors, said they have made no effort to lure Lee.
"Loaded na kami sa gwardya. Hindi na namin hahabulin," said NLEX team manager Ronald Dulatre, rattling off the names of Jonas Villanueva, Wynne Arboleda, Eliud Poligrates and D-League holdovers Pamboy Raymundo and Borgie Hermida in his guard spot.
"Saka di na namin kailangan si Paul Lee partner, kasi may Poli na kami," joked Dulatre, referring to Poligrates' nickname.
Alaska Aces coach Alex Compton also made it clear the team has not shown any interest in Lee.
"He's a great talent and one of the best guards in the league, but we're not trading for him right now," said Compton. "I am happy with my lineup and I don't want to move the guys. I like our team and our chemistry now."
Yet to talk about possible bids for Lee are the three teams under the San Miguel Corp. umbrella - Ginebra, San Mig Coffee and San Miguel Beer - as well as Barako Bull, GlobalPort, and newcomers Blackwater and Kia.
Rain or Shine officials have earlier disclosed an inquiry made by a known ally of SMC president Ramon S. Ang for Lee.
Still, Rain or Shine governor Mert Mondragon stood pat on earlier pronouncements that they will only let go of their top star in a 'value for value' trade.
"Ibibigay namin sa kanila si Paul Lee, basta bigyan nila kami ng malaki na same value," he said.