Blog Entry

Powerful agents warn NBA players not to cave

Posted on: October 3, 2011 5:47 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2011 2:00 am
Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

Note (1:57 a.m.): This post has been updated to reflect new information.

Kaboom. The agents are at it again.

In the latest signal that the NBA labor negotiations are doomed, at least in the short term, six influential agents have issued a letter to their clients on Monday advising them not to agree to any labor deal that requires the players to take cuts in compensation. reported that the agents are advising players to hold a firm line on the issue of the Basketball-Related Income split. 

The owners have held firm to chopping the players' share of BRI from 57 to 46 percent since negotiations began, union director Billy Hunter acknowledged after lengthy talks over the weekend were largely fruitless.

Sources say the letter, a copy of which was obtained from a player who received it, was jointly composed by Arn Tellem of Wasserman Media Group; Bill Duffy of BDA Sports; Dan Fegan of Lagardere Unlimited; Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports Management; Leon Rose and Henry Thomas of Creative Artists Agency; and Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports and Entertainment. believed the letter advocated no movement past the current 57 percent BRI split for the players. Later Monday, also obtained the letter (read it here) and reported that it advises players not to accept any reduction past the 52 percent level that has been negotiated in talks that have been ongoing for months.

Back in September, NBPA president Derek Fisher sent a letter to all players urging unity and specifically called out these agents. Here's his reward. Anarchy at the worst possible time.  

The agents are saying to their players, in effect: "We know your interests better than the union does." This letter undercuts the strength of Fisher and NBPA executive director Billy Hunter by revealing a clear rift. As mentioned on Saturday night, October comes down to one word on the players' side: resolve. Just two days later, we are presented with a blatant signal that powerful factions of the NBPA are not on the same page. At all. 

If we take the 57 percent reading as accurate, the agents are telling their clients not to approve concessions already made by the NBA in negotiations, totally cutting the legs out from under the NBPA leadership. If we take the 52 percent reading as accurate, Fisher and Hunter are left with no room to further negotiate with the NBA owners, who, up to this point, have made it clear that 52 percent is "miles" away from getting a deal done. That reading still turns the letter into an attempt to transform the NBPA's most recent offer into its final offer. That's still serious undercutting, although clearly not as bad as if the demand is at 57 percent as was previously reported. How, exactly, are NBPA officials supposed to enter the most important day of negotiations with one hand tied behind their backs?

Meanwhile, Yahoo Sports quoted one agent on Monday: "We're not just walking off the cliff with (Billy Hunter). We're ready to take the next step and decertify. We're not going to let the league set up tomorrow's meeting as a way to trap us into a bad deal."

Whether or not the actual advice in this letter is heeded, the mere fact that it was sent represents a step backwards in the negotiation process, and it comes at the worst possible time. The NBA and NBPA will continue talks in New York City on Tuesday in what could be the last session before regular season games are canceled. If the union does not have both the desire and authority to make significant concessions, and it appears that it has neither, a delayed start to the regular season is unavoidable.

Since: Sep 30, 2011
Posted on: October 5, 2011 1:43 pm

Powerful agents warn NBA players not to cave

Oh, big shock that agents do want players to give an inch..............does anyone think they are not just looking out for themselves?  Agents might be the dirtiest players in all of this, yes I am stereotyping, I am sure there are some fine upstanding agents out there, we just do not see them.

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: October 5, 2011 10:16 am

Powerful agents warn NBA players not to cave

This is nothing new. Less revenue for players means less compensation for the agents and their lavish lifestyles. I always thought Bill Duffy was an upstanding agent.....apparently I was misled. I think the best thing for the owners and players is to have a neutral third party decide the parameters of any agreement. The fans should decide since they are the ones forking over their hard-earned cash to watch games. Am I wrong? No, I'm not...but then again when has any sports league really took the interests of its fans to heart?

Since: Sep 5, 2009
Posted on: October 4, 2011 10:37 pm

Powerful agents warn NBA players not to cave

     Redsfan, that was an excellent post.

Since: Oct 9, 2010
Posted on: October 4, 2011 7:26 pm

Powerful agents warn NBA players not to cave

The fact that the agents are this involved in the process is a problem.  The players being led around by a group of hanger ons who just want a piece of the players salary show that the players have no idea what they are doing in this process. 

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: October 4, 2011 9:00 am

Powerful agents warn NBA players not to cave

Here's some truth...

Agents are just pimps. The NBA already has established contract structures, and the NBPA has information about all of the contracts. The union employs enough accountants, lawyers and staff to serve all the players in the NBA, without agents for individual players. Unfortunately, most of the players have been insulated from thinking for themselves their entire life, and it's as foreign to them as a Calculus exam. In fact, they are paying people a lot of money, for what they would recieve without them. 

These guys aren't fighting for a pension and medical benefits as mine workers, folks...Players that can't survive on a million a year aren't going to survive at 15 million either, they'll just draw more predators to steal their money.

The rank and file NBA player isn't going to have their lives changed regardless of how these "issues" are resolved....They WILL have their lives changed, if they ARE NOT RESOLVED, however, and SOON. This isn't about "fair", it's about "more", for a FEW's the elite Agents attempt at the rich getting richer...It's black on black crime....not really owners against players, but the NBA All-Star team's agents against the rest of the NBA-owners, fans, AND the "lesser" players....The top 25 paid NBA players and their agents, are putting the entire NBA at risk, soley for the purpose of extorting more money for themselves, in what has been, a far too lucrative environment to make business sense, for some time. Kobe, LeBron, Wade, Carmelo,etc... don't care, because they have plenty of money already, and are willing to risk the NBA, for even more money.

NBA franchises need to refuse to negotiate further with these slumdog millionaires, and go forward without the players (and agents) that think they can do better elsewhere. Owners will find it easier to sign basketball players willing to play for millions, than the players will find owners willing to take a loss on their business to pay them even more millions.  What the players are trying to do is akin to the tail wagging the dog...For possibly the first time in these players lives, they need someone to say NO.    

Since: Oct 3, 2011
Posted on: October 3, 2011 11:07 pm

Powerful agents warn NBA players not to cave

I still dont get the comment on "go watch some music videos." "How does that relate to anything about the lockout or basketball. We get it you HATE NBA Players, but here you are in the CBS NBA section, reading the blog, and further commenting on it. If you HATE the NBA that much just skip it.
I get where you're going with the "go watch some music videos" using such a "random phrase" to characterize a predominatly Black league. "Wink wink" teabagger.

Since: Dec 19, 2010
Posted on: October 3, 2011 10:13 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Jun 9, 2009
Posted on: October 3, 2011 9:35 pm

Powerful agents warn NBA players not to cave

Agents are scum. The NBA 'talent' is so watered down that ONLY 5% of NBA players are any good. AND WHY WOULD AN AGENT MAKE 33% of your money? Because NBA players are idiots. Now go watch some more music videos.

Since: Apr 6, 2007
Posted on: October 3, 2011 9:10 pm

Powerful agents warn NBA players not to cave

If you take out the top top tier talent, most NBA players are replacable without being noticed at all.  The players in the NFL lockout had some leveredge and reason for their move...the NBA players don't and what they don't seem to realize is that the owners won't cave.

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: October 3, 2011 9:04 pm

Powerful agents warn NBA players not to cave

If the players actually think that the agents care for their well being, then I have some ocean front property in Montana that I will sell them. The agents will be there, the same ones as now, way after these current players either retire of are cut. The players better really consider the consequences of not playing the entire year. If there is no season, then the players will have no leverage whatsoever  to barter with. All this hype of players playing overseas is just that, hype. Some players will get a contract over seas, but that is no guarantee of a step up. If they get injured and their career is damaged, long term, it is very damaging for the players. So tomorrow we will see ig the players are just greedy or both studid and greedy. It really affects me in no way, but I am curious as to what grred and stupidity  can accomplish.

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