(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
Free agent Devance says he is staying with Barangay Ginebra
In the NBA, we have Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan, Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan, among others. These are the best coach-player tandems that were virtually successful throughout their stint together. Duncan, for one, has stuck with his coach through thick and thin in a relationship that lasted for almost two decades which produced 5 championships for the San Antonio Spurs. In the PBA, we have that rare combination of a coach and a player who could win together. Among those pairs is Tim Cone and Joe Devance.
The two won multiple championships together with the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers including Tim Cone's second grand slam and now, to Governors' Cup championships with the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings. In fact, Tim Cone has said it in numerous times that Joe Devance has been one of the best players he has coached in his decorated coaching career owing to the fact that Devance's height plus his ability to play all 5 positions gives Tim Cone the flexibility to put Devance in any given position depending on the need and the situation.
However, their relationship is currently facing a threat as Joe Devance was surprisingly tagged as a free agent by the Gin Kings. The good news is, Joe Devance has already said that he's sticking with the crowd darlings despite looming interest from Coach Louie Alas of the Phoenix Fuel Masters who said that signing Joe Devance will be a long shot.
Question: assuming that Ginebra decides to re-sign Joe Devance anew, what are the pros and cons of doing so?
Pros: Versatility and Flexibility
As mentioned above, Joe Devance is one of the few guys in the PBA who can play any position with ease. He can do almost everything for the Gin Kings. He can defend well because of his height and wingspan. He can be a point guard who can also shoot long-distance bombs. He's almost a complete package for Tim Cone. No wonder why Tim Cone loves this guy.
Cons: Fewer Minutes for New Guys. And fewer Opportunities
While keeping JDV will enable the Gin Kings to have a reliable scorer off the bench, his roster spot and playing minutes will be eaten and these are the things that can be given to the new guys like Jett Manuel or give more minutes for Jervy Cruz.
Additionally, imagine the possibilities if JDV is to be traded for younger players? Who knows? The core of the Gin Kings are not getting younger so they will have to start looking into the long run and start looking for new players who can take over once the veterans call it a career. But then again, JDV is still JDV.
While it's already possible that Ginerba will keep JDV, for now, it's also unlikely that he will finish the season or his career with Ginebra. But then again, who would want to break a winning tandem like Tim Cone and Joe Devance?