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PBA: ROS eyes draft pick for Lee

Rain or Shine guard Paul Lee (right) must come up with another solid numbers against Air21 if he wants to help his team secure a twice-to-beat bonus in the playoffs. (Tony Pionilla)

With Rain or Shine resigned to a future without Paul Lee, team officials are now looking at how to get the maximum return from trading the star guard whose skills easily earned him a slot in the Gilas Pilipinas team.

Lee shook Rain or Shine from its foundation when he sought a trade two days before yesterday’s PBA rookie draft, upending the well-laid plans of the Elasto Painters who had wanted to pick a power forward.

Instead, the Painters opted for 6-foot-1 guard Kevin Alas, a giveaway sign that Lee is no longer in the team’s equation and a replacement has already been found for him.

But what is the equivalent value of Lee in a trade scenario?

Sources inside the Rain or Shine camp yesterday indicated that if the team fails to get a franchise player in exchange for Lee, first round draft picks will not be a bad option.

“The team is looking at future picks, maybe two first round picks,” said the source, who asked not to be named since there’s no discussion yet with any team regarding Lee’s services. Rain or Shine’s plan is predicated on what appears to be a juicy draft class in 2015 which may include Ateneo’s Kiefer Ravena, former National University stalwart Bobby Ray Parks, La Salle’s Arnold Val Opstal and Jason Perkins, and San Beda College’s Baser Amer.

But to get a shot at class A players, Lee may have to be traded to a team that has a chance to figure in the lottery draft, which means teams which will be at or near the cellar at the end of the conference.

That would include Kia Motors, Blackwater Sports and maybe NLEX, Alaska or Barako Bull.

But why would Lee agree to be traded to Kia Motors or Blackwater Sports? Well it’s because he probably will have no choice as his future is in the hands of his old team under PBA rules.

“Yes it’s a possibility,” said the same source.

“If you look at the 12 teams, the expansion teams (Kia and Blackwater) may find it hard to really compete against the established teams. So there is a strong chance for these new teams to end up vying for the No. 1 pick in 2015, and also in 2016,” the source added.