Jonathon Simmons finally made his debut for NLEX in the Philippine Basketball Association.
But whether he can finish the Governors’ Cup or not is a different story.
The Road Warriors are already preparing for Simmons early departure as they tapped another former National Basketball Association veteran in Wayne Selden Jr. as his replacement.
The 6-foot-4 Selden could become the league’s shortest import, but it doesn’t matter as he is coming in with a very impressive resume after campaigning for the New Orleans Pelicans, Memphis Grizzlies, Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks.
According to a reliable Daily Tribune source, the Road Warriors have already reached out to Selden and were given a very encouraging reply.
“They were talking about Wayne Selden and according to Coach Frankie Lim, he’s available,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“They’re also looking for other options.”
Selden’s agent is Charles Misuraca, who also represents Cameron Clark.
Clark, who saw action for NLEX as replacement import for KJ McDaniels, is set to see action for San Miguel Beer both in the season-ending conference and the East Asia Super League Champions Week in March.
The source said there’s a pressing need to look for Simmons’ replacement after his former club – the Shanxi Loongs – in the Chinese Basketball Association refused to issue his clearance.
Another source stressed that the Loongs even dangled an “NBA value” amount of money just to retain the services of the 33-year-old forward who saw action for the San Antonio Spurs, Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers.
Fortunately for the Road Warriors, Simmons was given a Letter of Clearance by the International Basketball Federation at the last minute that paved the way for him to suit up against Blackwater in their first game of the conference.
The source said Simmons may play for the Road Warriors for only one month – or four games – as they want him to pursue “what’s best for his family.”
“That’s why NLEX is so gracious to allow Simmons to pursue what’s best for his family and the management and coaching staff had agreed to release him after a month or at least four games to his team in China,” the source said.
“Credit should also be given to new team manager Larry Fonacier, who has been so busy working on this. The guy is barely two weeks in his new position as team executive, yet he has already experienced dealing with situations such as this one.”