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: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: November 15, 2011 8:52 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

For those arguing that business owners don't or shouldn't split "profits" 50/50 with employees, you are missing something.  The league is negotiating an appropriate split of overall revenue, not profits.  The percentage of revenue allocated to player salaries is how the leage determines the salary cap.  The players have agreed to a smaller share of revenue than what they were getting previously.  

It isn't at all uncommon for a business to pay out 50% of it's revenue in wages and benefits.

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: November 15, 2011 7:20 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

Is this really going on still? Just have a strike so we can watch the NFL, NHL and MLB Off season, and when the players don't get paid anything, and the owners see they will lose fans they will all come meet in the middle... as much as it bothered me football got it right they got it 50 50 now I don't think the people working for the owners should get that much, but they shouldn't get over 50 which they are getting and that is why the NBA is losing money.....

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: November 15, 2011 2:26 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

Fire Sterns Now! Sterns want to blame everyone but Himself. 

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: November 15, 2011 1:15 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

players have given back 3 billion over 10 years? That is 300 million, same as team losses. So the owners are greedy for offering to break even while players pull in huge salaries. How is that greedy? NBA salaries are unsustainable, players pick and choose where they play.

Sorry, the agents have no case.

Since: May 2, 2010
Posted on: November 15, 2011 12:58 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

The NBA players have conceded in negotiations up to $1 Billion

Bottom line... those buffoons are still making $5 mill a year!!!

Since: May 2, 2010
Posted on: November 15, 2011 12:56 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

"The greed that's being exhibited in this negotiation is strictly on the part of the NBA owners and nowhere else,"
Is this guy for real???
20 of 30 owners LOST MONEY last year.
They HAVE to make a drastic change or their business goes under.

Since: Nov 3, 2011
Posted on: November 15, 2011 12:49 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

I am so happy the players rejected the ultimatium offered by Stern and his crew. This needs to go to court right or wrong because I think both the owners and players are wrong. It is shame as a fan of the game to have to endure greed. Sports is for entertainment and the love of the game. Businessmen have come in and destroyed the integrity of the game by branding this sport like the stock market. I realize they take the most risk as owners but they also control the market value of the players by paying salaries at extreme levels. The players have become spoiled and unrealistically over valued. They don't realize how much money is being thrown their way based on potential not performance. Once the NBA owners realized they could buy low (draft) teenagers with promising talent and sell out mature older players, it became an investment strategy to treat players as a commodity. David Stern as commisioner has always tried brand the product with globalization, tv deals, and solicit big market cites. It is the small market places that are being neglected and challenged to sustain competitiveness with the current model. They are rewarded for being in the draft and possibly getting a marque player butthe end resut that it is rental property for players. Everything is so corrupted that I don't think the NBA will ever be the same anymore. See you in divorce court!

Since: Mar 5, 2010
Posted on: November 15, 2011 12:01 am

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

Just fold the whole freakin league. I'm so sick of all these babies. Some people have to actually "work" for a living and these princesses are unhappy with an average of $5 mill for 82 games!!!  we'll see how these financial brains do after not getting a check for a couple of months and the blinged out Benz start getting reposessed.  LOL

Since: Sep 26, 2011
Posted on: November 14, 2011 11:21 pm

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

It is comical to hear a man named BartelSTEIN to talk of greed. Truly the pot calling the kettle black.

Since: Aug 2, 2008
Posted on: November 14, 2011 10:34 pm

Agent fires back at Stern over 'greed' comment

Get a life! Who cares. There is college basketball going on now and thru March almost every night and day.  NBA Players are way over paid! The owners took the risk yearas ago when he NBA got started and should flat out make more then the employees(not players).  Unions are bad for our county now. They did hAve a place years ago but have outlived their need.  Why Do guys that play in major league sports need unions?  One of these guys makes more then my entire neighborhood and we live in upper middle class neighborhood.  That is ridiculous!
In my opinion they exist to line the pokcets of lawyers and union mnagement.  Grow up you big bunch of baby's.  If you didn't play basketball what degree do they haveto fall back on and work like the rest oif us???  Bring on other players that want to play and the cities that are real NBA cities will come out and chear for their teams and not the employees. 

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