RAIN or Shine coach Yeng Guiao said team officials want to talk to Paul Lee himself before deciding on their next course of action over his wish to be traded.
Guiao admitted that the whole Rain or Shine organization was surprised by statements made by Lee’s longtime adviser and manager Lawrence Chongson to Spin.ph on Friday that the Gilas Pilipinas star has expressed his desire to be traded to another team.
However, the multi-titled coach said the team doesn’t want to take Chongson’s word as gospel truth since it sees no reason for Lee wanting out of the team.
At the very least, the team deserves an explanation from Lee, he said.
“Wala naman kaming pinagsamahan na masama ni Paul. We love Paul. And there is no offer there that is better than ours, at least legally, since we have offered him a maximum contract already,” said the Rain or Shine coach.
“So went to confirm and validate with Paul what his agent said. We want to hear it from Paul himself. We’ve been together for three years and we have no reason to part ways.
“We’re very close, we’re like family. And we’re very happy with his performance, his attitude and his character. So this really surprised us. I think we deserve an explanation,” Guiao added.
Rain or Shine insiders said Lee has not been in touch with team officials since leaving with Gilas Pilipinas for its buildup for the Fiba World Cup and the Asian Games.
In the event that Lee himself declares that he wants out of the team that made him the No. 2 selection overall of the 2012 PBA rookie draft, Guiao assured that Rain or Shine will find a way to move him in a ‘fair’ trade.
“Kung talagang hindi na maiiwasan na magkahiwalay kami, we’re open to trading him, so long as the trade is fair – value for value ika nga,” he said.
What if no fair trade comes along?
“In such a case, we have to exercise our rights over Paul,” said Guiao, pointing out that Rain or Shine can hold on to the rights on Lee since it has already offered him a maximum contract.
Guiao also admitted that the uncertainly surrounding Lee’s status has prompted him to change his strategy entering Sunday’s PBA draft, where he said he will be on the lookout for a guard as ‘insurance’ with the No. 2 and 9 picks overall.
“Dati we were looking for big men dahil we had a surplus of guards, but that changes now,” he said. “Now there’s a possibility that we may pick anyone among (Chris) Banchero, Kevin Alas at Matt Ganuelas (Rosser).
“Now if we draft anyone of these guards and Paul decides to stay with us, then we have a good problem in our hands.”