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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: Oct 23, 2006
Posted on: November 14, 2011 9:58 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

The bottom line is that the NBAs fanbase want exactly what the owners want!  The NBA is a broken machine that is in die need of repair.  So you have the NBA owners and the NBA fans wanting one thing, and the players and agents wanting another.   My feeling is that the people who support and pay the salaries will come out on it should be.

Lets be realistic..the last few CBAs have been tilted way too far in the players direction..with a bad economy there has been market corrections it is the NBAs time.

The players will still be do not fret.

Since: Mar 15, 2011
Posted on: November 14, 2011 9:38 am

pay up!

The agents want their money---stern needs to quit the talk and get the owners to pay up the cash!

Since: Jan 4, 2011
Posted on: November 14, 2011 9:34 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

Who needs the NBA, they are all a bunch of greedy bums, I'm not renewing my season tickets. screw them. Besides college ball is here and everyone can watch msu get punished by DUKE on tuesday night. Peace.

Since: Jun 3, 2007
Posted on: November 14, 2011 9:20 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

Here's the breakdown in order to show you how stupid this whole thing is on both sides and exactly what they are holding out over. The NBA made $4.3 Billion last year in BRI (Basketball Related Income). The projection was for it to increase an average of 4% over the next contract. That's an average of $172M/yearly extra. That would make the BRI $4.47 Billion each year. The owners & players are fighting tooth and nail over a yearly purse of $89.4 million. If the players were to get the 52% ($89.4M), they would have to split that money among themselves which is 450. That would give each player an extra $200K per year. That is beans compared to their salary!!! If the owners got the $89.4 M, it would be an average of 2.98M extra a year for each of them. Their profits plus an enormous average owner salary of 100M or more, depending on the franchise owner and what they set for themselves, make that extra 2.98M only a minor fraction to what they are already getting. BUT!!! All of this is only everyone involved banking on YOU THE FAN to pay them what they think their worth is. YOU THE FAN have the ultimate say in how the NBA's finances turn out.

Since: Jun 3, 2007
Posted on: November 14, 2011 8:47 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

Steelpen.... do you know how ridiculous that sounds? I know the agents are greedy, but they only get a percentage of players' contracts, not the revenue sharing. So it would be detrimental for agents to stay on the side of players and be greedy when they aren't getting paid until an agreement is reached.... If anything, the greedy agent would say sign the agreement so we can, I mean you get paid.... hehe

Since: Sep 22, 2011
Posted on: November 14, 2011 8:44 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

one commissioner, two lock-outs. 
is he really competent?

Since: Nov 9, 2006
Posted on: November 14, 2011 8:34 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

Coach K goes for win Number 903 against Michigan St. tomorrow. Who actually misses the NBA. Just hate that I have to see the stories on TV and on-line.....

Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: November 14, 2011 6:01 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

Bartelstein is right that the league should improve revenue sharing.  Other thatn that I have a hard time with Agents who are pushing for their guys to go the decert route.  This then leaves the players having to battle out in the courts where the agents get to run the show.  Hey maybe the league can be pushed back a bit by this course I just don't see it.  At the end of the day I don't know where you can claim that you are bargaining unfairly when you are being put up in fancy hotels flown on private jets and paid millions of dollars to play a game.

Since: Dec 23, 2007
Posted on: November 14, 2011 5:47 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

The agents get rich off the backs of the players.. Maybe its time to get a whole new set of agents ...maybe its time to get a whole new set of players... nah... just agree on a contract and go play ball..

Since: Jan 22, 2008
Posted on: November 14, 2011 5:39 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

The only question I have is, Why are the agents involved at all? The don't want the gravy train to stop. Get them out of the picture and a settlement would have been reached by now.

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