Stanley Pringle was traded to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Tuesday. In exchange, the NorthPort Batang Pier received Kevin Ferrer, Jervy Cruz and Sol Mercado.
Let's examine how the trade affects both teams moving forward.
NORTHPORT BATANG PIER
When news about the trade started flooding social media, the biggest question on everyone's minds was why on earth would NorthPort consider moving Stanley Pringle. After all, the Batang Pier are off to one of their best starts in franchise history, and, this early are already knocking on the door for an outright playoff berth, and possibly a twice-to-beat advantage.
Pringle has only played in two of the first six games because of the surgery he had on his foot to remove bone spurs. It's possible the injury is more serious than the team is letting on. NorthPort has shown it can rack up wins without Pringle, which could be one of the reasons that triggered this big trade.
The haul that NorthPort got in exchange for Pringle includes veterans Sol Mercado, Jervy Cruz and Kevin Ferrer. Those three are healthy, and will be able to contribute right away. NorthPort also pulled the trigger on getting those three players because of injuries sustained to key players Jonathan Grey and Nico Elorde. Grey could be out for the rest of the season due to a patellar tendon injury, while Elorde will miss time with a hamstring injury.
Cruz and Ferrer are very familiar with Pido Jarencio's system, after playing for him during their college days with UST. They should be able to come in right away and provide stability and help space the floor. Mercado will be the lead guard right away for the Batang Pier with Pringle traded and Elorde out. He has been very productive this conference for Ginebra and should relish a bigger responsibility with this squad.
The real intriguing piece, though, for NorthPort is definitely Ferrer. In his three years in the PBA, Ferrer has shown flashes of being the 3-and-D player that many thought he could be. However, inconsistency has plagued Ferrer. It could be because he's playing behind superstars like Japeth Aguilar and Joe Devance. Plus, with Arthur Dela Cruz slowly being reinserted into the rotation, Ferrer was the odd man out.
Ferrer should have all kinds of opportunities to flourish in Jarencio's system. The question is whether he will be able to live up to his potential.
So we've established that Ferrer, Cruz and Mercado are good pieces that should be able to contribute and keep the Batang Pier comfortably in the playoff picture. But does this mean the three are a good return for Pringle? The answer is a bit complicated. Optics would say absolutely not. Pringle is a former Rookie of the Year, Mythical First team, PBA scoring champion, and a Most Valuable Player runner-up. Many consider him pound-for-pound the best player in the PBA, when you consider his athletic gifts coupled with his vastly improved three-point shooting.
Many people are up in arms because of this trade because the initial reaction was that one of the best players in the league was traded to Ginebra, which didn't have to give up a big name like Scottie Thompson or Greg Slaughter in return.
The Batang Pier could have definitely gotten more from the deal, but they decided they were ready to move on from Pringle, who is 32 years old and in the midst of his prime. The team is banking on Ferrer's untapped potential, plus Mercado and Cruz to currently hold down the fort.
One thing that hasn't been discussed is that NorthPort kept its first round pick in the 2020 PBA Draft, which originally was rumored to be part of the deal. If the Batang Pier crash and burn for the rest of the season, then they'll be able to select a great piece from what should be a loaded draft pool. If this was a trade that could yield a big time player like Thirdy Ravena or Joshua Munzon, then this trade would look much better.
Adding a player like Stanley Pringle to your lineup, no matter the condition he is in, is an absolute victory. The fact that Ginebra didn't have to give up a single draft pick or any one of their franchise players makes this trade all the more sweeter for the Gin Kings.
There are people who are wondering why Ginebra needed to make a trade in the first place, considering they're 3-3 and still waiting for key players to heal. Their backcourt is still rock solid, with Tenorio and Thompson, and Mercado is still one of the best perimeter defenders in the league.
But here's the thing about playing in the PBA: when opportunity comes, particularly in the form of Stanley Pringle, you grab it and figure out everything later. Ginebra sacrificed a ton of depth and defense by letting Mercado and Ferrer go. The veteran team also got older with the 32-year-old Pringle now part of the lineup.
There will be questions about how Pringle will affect the backcourt rotation. Who will start with Pringle? Will he be the shooting guard alongside Tenorio, or will Tim Cone opt to go with Pringle and Thompson?
Ginebra has identified that the big issue this conference is the lack of support for Justin Brownlee. Pringle will instantly come in as the much needed local who can create his own shot and find his teammates when needed. As it stands, Ginebra doesn't look like a team that's done wheeling and dealing. They have arguably the most talented starting five aside from San Miguel's, but their bench is shallow because of the injuries to Dela Cruz and Jeff Chan. This move to acquire Pringle is a landscape-changing move that they had to do no matter the cost.