San Miguel Beer is looking to parade another former National Basketball Association lottery pick as import in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup starting 21 September.
A Daily Tribune source said the Beermen are in the thick of their negotiation with Thomas Robinson, a 6-foot-10 slotman who was tapped by the Sacramento Kings with the fifth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft following a stellar collegiate career at Kansas.
After playing a season with the Kings, Robinson moved to the Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets before joining the young Los Angeles Lakers featuring Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and Brandon Ingram.
Then, he campaigned in Russia, China, NBA G League, Turkey, Puerto Rico and South Korea.
If ever, the 31-year-old Robinson will become the first NBA lottery pick to reinforce the Beermen since Shabazz Muhammad, the 14th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, powered the franchise in the previous Governors’ Cup.
The source said they are doing their best to bring in Robinson.
Aside from his leadership and experience from a long and colorful international campaign, he can also provide a solid inside presence that perfectly complements the role being played by six-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo.
“Based on our analysis, we are successful when we have a dominant post player,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity pending the outcome of the negotiations.
“With that, we are looking at hiring Robinson to help us especially when June Mar sits out. We don’t want to have a huge hole in our interior defense whenever June Mar takes a breather.”
The source said the Commissioner’s Cup is not the only reason why they want to bring in the former NBA campaigner.
“We’re also thinking about the East Asia Super League,” he said.
“If we hire him now, he will be with us until the EASL, which opens in October. As we know, based on our previous experience, a lot of big imports are playing there.”
But Robinson isn’t the only import that the Beermen are considering.
The source said they are also looking at Chris McCullough, the 6-foot-7 forward who guided them to the Commissioner’s Cup title in 2019.
The former Brooklyn Net, however, is not yet in perfect shape as he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament while playing for New Taipei in the P. League+ in March. ACL tears usually take six to nine months of recovery.
“If nothing happens with our negotiation with Robinson, then we’ll get a high-scoring forward like McCullough,” the source said, admitting that everything remains fluid at the moment.
“Nothing is final. We’re still negotiating.”