TWO-TIME grand slam champion coach Tim Cone won't begin practice with new team Barangay Ginebra until August 17.
But that doesn't mean he isn't hard at work already.
The new Ginebra coach admitted on Thursday that there are ongoing talks for player movements in the offseason as he lays down the groundwork for his triangle offense in the league's most popular team.
Cone, however, made it clear that there is nothing concrete at the moment.
"There are, of course, talks ongoing with other teams during the break. That's common to all teams. But we have nothing imminent going on," Cone, who is in a business trip in the US and won't return until Tuesday, told Spin.ph.
Aside from getting pieces that fit his pet offensive system, Cone said he also needs to address what he calls an 'unusual imbalance' in a Ginebra lineup that has seven guards in its lineup.
"Looking at the lineup, it’s not a balanced lineup. We have a lot of point guards and we only have two wings and one off guard. It’s kind of an unusual balance,” the 18-time champion coach pointed out.
Mark Caguioa, Jayjay Helterbrand, LA Tenorio, Josh Urbiztondo, Sol Mercado, Emman Monfort and Jens Knuttel make up Ginebra's backcourt. Cone usually makes do with one or two legit playmakers in his lineup.
Although Cone is keeping his cards close to his chest, sources said the wing and the shooting guard positions are the two spots the Ginebra coach wants to immediately address in his new team.
Sources also told Spin.ph that the Kings are currently shopping around for a trade for undersized frontliner Dave Marcelo, who was acquired by Ginebra from Barako Bull during the shortlived reign of former coach Frankie Lim.
Marcelo was Lim's former player at San Beda.
Teams from the Manny V. Pangilinan group, same organization that supports San Beda, are said to be looking at the possibility of taking in Marcelo.
Ginebra insiders told Spin.ph that among players eyed by Cone is NLEX's high-flying forward KG Canaleta, who can fit the triangle well owing to his strong perimeter game and attacking style.
Canaleta used to play for Ginebra back in the 2011 and 2012 seasons of the PBA.
Player agent Danny Espiritu, however, tried to play down the trade rumors, saying Marcelo is set to get a contract extension at Ginebra.
"Andun na yung contract extension niya, for signing na lang on Monday. Sila ni Josh Urbiztondo," said Espiritu.
However, Espiritu also admitted that a sign-and-trade deal can't be ruled out.
"Pero kahit naman makapirma ng kontrata 'yan, pwede pa rin ma-trade. Assumption of contract lang yun. Marami nang ganung nangyari," he added.
Another Ginebra guard Emman Monfort, sources said, is being pursued by other teams.
Spin.ph has previously reported that one Star player who Cone wants to bring along is Alex Mallari, a tall guard who has blossomed during the American coach's time with the Purefoods franchise.
However, any move for Mallari will have to involve a third 'conduit' team since sister ballclubs are barred by the league from doing straight trades.