NBA in play for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson–but first, a stint with TNT


Jordan’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson shoots a fadeaway jumper against New Zealand in the Fiba World Cup at Mall of Asia Arena. -FIBA PHOTO

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s performance for Jordan through the first round of the Fiba World Cup has raised some possibilities of a potential return to the NBA.

But while opportunities abound, the former Brooklyn Nets starter reaffirmed his earlier commitment to once again don the TNT Tropang Giga in mid-October when the PBA starts its 48th season with the Commissioner’s Cup.

“I’m open to a lot of things right now,” said Hollis-Jefferson. “[But] I’m playing here this coming season. That season ends in February so I’m open to everyone who wants to call.”

Hollis-Jefferson has made that pronouncement even before the start of the World Cup. TNT coach and team manager Jojo Lastimosa even watched one of his games from the proximity of the Jordanian bench.

Having Hollis-Jefferson for the Commissioner’s Cup is something that would boost the Tropang Giga’s bid to win the first offering of the PBA season after the hardworking import led them to championship glory in last season’s Governors’ Cup at the expense of Barangay Ginebra.

Jordan lost all three games in Group C and was relegated to the classification round.

And as much as Filipino fans have showered him with adulation and chants of “Kobe” [Bryant] throughout the tournament, Hollis-Jefferson may end up breaking their hearts with the race for the lone Asian berth still up for grabs.

“We’re still locked in,” said Hollis-Jefferson, one of his trademark remarks. “We want to get the best chance possible, no matter who we play. As I’ve said, it’s about locking in some work for longer stretches, longer periods and [hopefully] coming out with a victory.”

Jordan’s dismal record seems to be secondary for those following the games given Hollis-Jefferson’s performance. He’s averaging 27.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists, highlighted by his 39-point barrage in an overtime loss to New Zealand.

He had 20 points, seven rebounds and three assists in a 110-62 loss to the United States.

“That’s my brother, man,” said Team USA’s Bobby Portis, who expects his friend to be back in the NBA soon.

“He has another good chance.”

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