MANILA, Philippines – Former NBA player Al Thornton is strongly considering playing professional basketball in the Philippines, but he has yet to sign with a franchise in the PBA to be an import.
Thornton's basketball agent in the Philippines, Sheryl Reyes, informed Rappler on Thursday, December 25, that her client has not yet decided on which team to play for in the upcoming 2015 PBA Commissioner's Cup.
Three teams are after the former NBA first round pick, with the NLEX Road Warriors as the strongest one in pursuit. Reyes opted not to name the two other teams.
"He currently has not yet signed a contract and is enjoying the holiday right now. Together with BDA Sports (Thornton's representation in the United States), I am currently weighting his options and deciding what is best for him since he has other contract offers," Reyes said.
Reyes' statement counters the article released by Philippine sports website Spin.ph that says Thornton already agreed to play for the Road Warriors in the Commissioner's Cup.
NLEX head coach Boyet Fernandez was contacted for comment but has yet to respond to Rappler as of this moment.
Reyes said while her client is interested in the idea of playing in the Philippines, Thornton also has opportunities to play overseas in China and Puerto Rico.
"He has options to play in China now and in Puerto Rico in February," according to Reyes, who told Rappler that she and Thornton plan to make their decision - whether to play for any of the three PBA teams in pursuit, in China, or in Puerto Rico - before the end of December.
Thornton was drafted 14th overall in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers. He put up 12.7 PPG and 4.5 RPG in 79 games in his rookie campaign, which was well enough to warrant an All-NBA Rookie First Team slot.
Thornton's best season in the NBA was his sophomore season with LAC, where he averaged a career-high 16.8 PPG and 5.2 RPG in 71 games.
After spending three seasons with the Clippers, Thornton was traded to the Washington Wizards prior to the 2009-2010 NBA season. He spent two years with the franchise before ending his career with the Golden State Warriors in the 2010-2011 NBA season, where he played in only 22 games.
The versatile forward also served stints playing pro-ball in Puerto Rico and in China in 2012.
According to Reyes, Thornton was already interested to play as an import in the PBA in 2013 when she presented him with a contract offer from Barako Bull Energy. But due to schedule conflicts, the partnership never came to fruition. – Rappler.com