Blog Entry

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

Posted on: November 14, 2011 12:11 am
Angered by commissioner David Stern's assertion that greedy agents are imperiling the possibility of reaching a collective bargaining agreement, high-profile agent Mark Bartelstein fired back Sunday night -- telling that it is the owners, not the agents, who are being greedy.

"The greed that's being exhibited in this negotiation is strictly on the part of the NBA owners and nowhere else," Bartelstein said. "When the union has shifted well in excess of $3 billion over the course of this deal from players to owners and that's not good enough for the owners, that's the definition of greed."

In a phone interview with the Association Press, Stern said this weekend that agents appeared to be engaged in an "orchestrated" campaign to conceal details of the owners' latest proposal from their clients and are choosing instead what he called a "losing strategy" of decertification.

"By some combination of mendacity and greed, the agents who are looking out for themselves rather than their clients are trying to scuttle the deal," Stern said.

(Mendacity isn't the same thing as asshattery, but it's close. Google says it is the act of being untruthful.)

Bartelstein, one of the most powerful agents in the NBA with dozens of clients, also is among a group of seven influential agents who have collected around 200 signatures on decertification cards to be submitted to the National Labor Relations Board in an effort to dissolve the union in response to what they view as a decidedly one-sided negotiation favoring the owners.

"If the players are going to make the concessions to address over $300 million a year in a shift in revenue from the players to the owners, the one thing the players should get back is flexibility, freedom, freedom of choice and a more vibrant and free-market system, because it's a zero-sum game," Bartelstein said. "Instead, they're ratcheting down the system in the name of competitive balance, and that's completely disingenuous.

"A negotiation is supposed to be about making trades," Bartelstein said. "The biggest part of any negotiation is the dollars. That's the biggest part of this negotiation. The players are giving the owners the dollars. If the owners are concerned about competitive balance, it can absolutely be handled through revenue sharing. And the myth they're putting out there that they can't share losses, there's no truth to that argument whatsoever. Revenue sharing has nothing to do with sharing profits and losses. It's about making sure low-revenue teams can have more revenue so they can be more competitive and you can have a better product. That should be done through revenue sharing, not through getting concessions from the players."

Bartelstein said he has spoken with union executive director Billy Hunter in recent days to share his thoughts about the state of the negotiations and the options at the players' disposal. Hunter convened a meeting of the players' executive committee Sunday night in advance of a meeting with player reps and potentially other players at 9 a.m. ET Monday in Manhattan. As was the case last week, the player reps will decide whether the owners' proposal should be presented to the full body for a vote, or whether it should be rejected or sent back to the league with suggested amendments and a request for further negotiation. Stern has said the league does not plan to revise the proposal again, and that it is the last one that realistically could provide the players with a 72-game season starting Dec. 15.

It also is the last one that would give the players a 50 percent hare of revenues. If the players reject the offer, Stern said the owners' negotiating position will shift to an offer in which player salaries would be derived from a 47 percent share of revenues with a hard team salary cap and rollbacks of existing contracts.

As of Sunday night, no final decision had been made on when the players would file a decertification petition with the NLRB, but there is widespread assumption in the agent community that the players will not accept the league's offer or put it to a vote. Also, there are indications that the decertification movement could push forward early this week regardless of what the player reps decide to do with the proposal.


Since: Jun 3, 2007
Posted on: November 14, 2011 11:22 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

RedsFan1507....  That's what the owners want you to believe. As I have stated several times, team owners show a loss but don't lose one dime!!! Owners put themselves on a salary of around $100-$200M average, depending on which franchise it is. The bottom line profit/loss has to be negative or even or the owners would face double taxation!!! If you need proof and know an owner of a business, just ask them if they pay themselves, put themselves on the payroll. I bet 99.9% will tell you yes.... that because if a business shows a profit, it will get taxed by our great IRS as a business and again when the owners try to put it in their pockets. You have to remember also that owners are very smart when it comes to the bottom line. EVERYTHING they do is an expense for their business (dinners, travel, their jets, their house....EVERYTHING!!!) so there are other luxuries that are afforded for owners to "hide" true profits. Both sides should be ashamed of themselves. And unless the owners can guarantee cheaper prices in apparel or tickets, then the fan still loses even if the owners win. Do you reall think if they pay the players less, the owners are gonna pass the savings to YOU THE FAN????

Since: Oct 28, 2011
Posted on: November 14, 2011 11:18 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

Wow Mark Bartelstein's opinion means so much in this deal.  He is an agent of course he wants a deal that will generate more money for the players because in the end it means more money for him.  He couldn't care less about the well being of the current players because he already has his cut from their bloated salaries.  In five years most of his clients will be done playing but Mr. Mark Bartelstein will still be an agent and still making money.  I think the agents want the players to dig their heals in and not accept a 50/50 split.  He may be losing some money this year but will be making more money down the road if the players can get a better than 50/50 split of BRI.  I would be willing to bet that if you could only be an agent for 7 years total and after that they could no longer make money the offer of 50/50 on the table wouldn't look so bad.  The agents would be recommending the players accept this deal.

I also believe that if the offer was put to a vote now it would have a good chance to pass.  The players excutive committee won't even allow a vote from all the players.  It appears to me that the agents and others with a vested interest have a MUCH easier time controling a small group of player "excutivies" than it would the general NBA population.  Look at the salaries and money made from the NBA of these players.  They are not the ones taking a huge hit the general NBA population is.  The players need to be given the chance to vote on the offer on the table.  They won't because I believe that the agents, interested parties and the excutives believe it would pass.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: November 14, 2011 10:50 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

Well of course the agent is claiming Stern is greedy (which he and the owners are .... just like the players and agents). He's worried that he won't be getting paid his millions of dollars. At least the players play the game and the owners provide the business part of it. WTF do agents do other than get more money for the players? They hold teams hostage and basically screw every single sport in the world.
Agents are just below attorneys (many of whom are also sports agents) on my list of a-holes in the world.

Since: Feb 9, 2011
Posted on: November 14, 2011 10:38 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

One other point. Last night on twitter the spin master Stern mentioned that the league would have to make the next offer horrible at 53-47 in favor of the owners because the league would have no choice as the season would be canceled. He essentially is claiming that the lack of play is the players fault. That is completely misleading and false. While the CBA has expired, they certainly could have had a one year extension where everyone continued to play. The lockout was done to squeeze the players and for that rerason only. The argument by the league that they could not play under the old system as they were losing 300 Millon a year makes no sense as support for the lockout.If the season is canceled then total losses will be 5 times this minimum. I simply dont understand the reasoning of Stern on this one. If the league locked out the players then the losses from no season fall squarely on David Stern.

Since: Aug 9, 2009
Posted on: November 14, 2011 10:22 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

When it comes down to it the players will play for whatever the owners are willing to give them as long as the owners remain patient.  The faces of players are always changing while the owners for the most part remain the same.

Since: May 6, 2009
Posted on: November 14, 2011 10:18 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

Keep up the attitude of entitlement "Players and Agents"...  Us fans really aren't as beholding to you as we are to the decades of attachment to the team..  Point being:  I care more about the Bullets than the players on the Team..  So back down and play some b-ball. 

Since: Feb 9, 2011
Posted on: November 14, 2011 10:12 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

I meant David Stern in the last post-not Davis Stern. Just a typo.

Since: Feb 9, 2011
Posted on: November 14, 2011 10:07 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

I agree witht he agent. While it has been generally not as effective as they anticipated, baseball has had good success in recent negotiations  by implementing revenue sharing. They dealy with the competetive issue separately from the player financial issues and it has worked. I am not on either side here, but it is clear what the owners have tried to do here and it is simply overreaching. They want the players to protect them from any potential losses by giving back annually the  deficit the league claims exists. They want the players to assist in other system changes which will allegedly help them be more competitive even if they make bad decisions on players. And they want to restrict movement of players going forward. Ask yourself a simple question. if this is such a bad deal for the owners and  not a complete greed bag, then why has Davis Stern spent so much time telling evryone on the other side they should take the deal? He knows he is getting a ridiculously one sided deal, that the owners have pushed too far, and does not want it to slip away. Finally,I think everyone is forgetting when they tell the players that they have no alternatives so should take the deal as where else will they get to play. It is a great point but keep in mind they are only in this position because the NBA has exemption from Anti trust rules that most companies and industries in the United States have to abide by.  They face significant restrictions that do  not exist in most other employment despite what they are making.The owners now want the benefits of that exemption but want no risk for their mistakes and poor decisions. Parity will never exist in the NBA like other sports-as you only start 5 players at a time and a superstar can take over an NBA game in a way that does not exist in baseball or the NFL.

Since: Apr 22, 2009
Posted on: November 14, 2011 10:04 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

Agents are a disease!

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: November 14, 2011 10:03 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

The math just doesn't support players and's really simple: the NBA is a business that collectively LOST $300 million last year. There is no greed involved with the simple business model that insists that business make a profit, and revenue sharing can't magically turn a 9 figure loss in to a profit, and sharing that loss isn't what investors spent their money for.

There IS substantial greed involved with players and agents that want people to somehow believe the NBA should guarantee players $2 billion in salary while running the NBA at a loss.  

It's all about supply and demand, and what the market will bear, and all those factors leave players without a case...

99% of the qualified investors already HAVE an NBA franchise, and 80% of them are losing money. There is a basketball player for every square foot of asphalt from Brooklyn to Bejing, that will be more than happy to work for the millions the NBA has offered...there is no competing league in North America, and Europe and Asia don't have 420 job openings for disgruntled NBA players- even if they did, they will pay a fraction of the current NBA offer....Players are asking for about $300K/yr. more than the profit margin, and no court can force a business to pay more than they have.

..It's strike 3 for players and agents...they are just arguing a point that can't be won, and are too greedy and stupid to realize the current NBA offer is the highest average salary in pro sports. There is NO MORE, and everyone but them knows it. 

Stern and owners have no choice but to tell players and their agents to TAKE A CUT, OR TAKE A HIKE.

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