Agents Try to Dictate NBA Labor Negotiations

Everyday we’re reminded of just exactly why the NBA isn’t nearly the league that the NFL is. From the bad dealings of the owners to the continued negligence of the players, this lockout has never looked likely to end with a happy conclusion.

If you want more evidence of just how poorly these talks are progressing then observe the news of player agents sending out a letter to their clients advising them how to handle the labor talks.

ESPN obtained a copy of the letter urging players not to give into the demands of the owners. You can read a copy of it in full here.

More or less the blood-sucking concerned agents are advising their clients to get more involved. Nothing wrong with that, in fact it’s long overdue.

Participate in the Process and Protect your Individual Right to Bargain

When the time comes, you must demand that the NBPA submit any proposed agreement to a vote by all NBA players and provide every player with a reasonable amount of time to review and consider the proposed deal. We urge you now to become involved and educate yourself. Knowledge is power!

Nothing too terrible troubling with the advice above. But you can’t help but laugh at how self-serving this letter ultimately is.

Try and read between the lines on some of the following bullet points.

The Current Proposal Hurts Your Earning Potential

The NBA demands deep cuts and major “givebacks” that will cripple your earning potential and the earning potential of every future NBA player.

· The NBPA offered to reduce the players’ share of BRI from 57% to 52%. This will result in a transfer of over $200 million per year or a minimum of $500,000 per player back to the owners.

o This results in at least 8% or more of your salary being withheld by the owners each season through the escrow withholding. This applies to all contracts, including contracts signed before the lockout. You may never receive this money back.

· The owners demand mandatory reductions in all player salaries in addition to the escrow withholding, including “claw backs” from all existing contracts by as much as 10% per year.

o With an 8% escrow and a 10% “claw back,” each player will likely return 15 – 20% of his salary to the owners at the end of each season.

For fun go back a read the above passage over again and try replacing the word “your” with “our”.

Now you can imagine how much these powerful agents are sweating knowing their cash cows are being led to the slaughter. Sure, they’re looking out for the client’s best interest but after it is all said and done they’ve got their own agenda.

I’m not saying this isn’t good advice. The fact of the matter is it’s never a good sign when representation is getting involved in labor talks. Nor is it a good sign that the agents are taking actions that should have been carried out by the union long ago.

If we do see an NBA season this year it will be because one of the sides completely caves. At this point a significant compromise of any kind seems as improbable as an agent putting his personal needs aside in favor of doing what is ultimately best for his client. Come to think of it, that might be exactly why the league is in this predicament to begin with.

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Tags: NBA Lockout

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