Agent Calls NBA Owners ‘Greedy’ After David Stern Calls Agents ‘Greedy’

by November 14, 2011

*Sigh …* See, this is why we can’t have nice things, friends. David Stern and the agents who represent players aren’t seeing eye-to-eye, to say the least. CBS Sports has the latest verbal spat between the two sides: “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. 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.'”