NEW YORK — Seven NBA Agents whom sent out a scathing letter critical of Union head Billy Hinter, have relaxed their militant stance and anti-union rhetoric and have backed off from their hard push for player deseritifcation.
The cooling of the agents heated stance came after many of their clients, whom the assumed they were helping, lashed out at them for basically butting in where they had no right to. A conference call between the seven agents to discuss their future plans was held today and it was at this conference call the attitude towards the union shifted to a more reserved tone.
Players such as Richard Hamilton, Lebron James and Chauncey Billups (probably the only time they’ll ever be in the same sentence together) and other top NBA stars lashed out at their agents for pushing against the grain for player desertification. Hamilton threatened to not only fire his agent, Leon Rose, if he didn’t divorce himself from the fringe group, but take others with him off of Rose’s client list.
Other players that have vowed allegiance to the Union include Kevin Garnett, Dwayne Wade, Ben Gordon, Arron Afflalo and many more in between.
The agents presence in the lockout has been troubling from the start to many involved seriously in the lockout, as the agents served little purpose for progress and more of a parasitic presence meant to only benefit themselves. One unnamed NBA player I spoke with recently shared the sentiment that the agents had no place in the collective bargaining process.
“They don’t play. Therefore they have no right to negotiate something that effects them very little.” said the unnamed player.
The player agents added a stress that didn’t need to be applied to a situation that has already boiled over. Last Friday, Miami Heat star Dwayne Wade yelled at NBA comisonier David Stern when Stern pointed his finger at Wade when making a remark.
“I’m not your child.” said Wade in response to Stern. Stern acknowledged the two had a spat but left it at that, not even going as far as calling it a spat.
More unnerving tension has amounted after this weekend’s labor talks heeded no new progress. Small vicotries were had towards having a season such as the owners dropping their pursuit for a hard cap and rolled back salaries, but the hot button issue (and deal breaker as it has proven to be) is what percentage players will get of total BRI (Basketball Related Income). The players had recevied 57 percent under the old deal and the owners want , and have from the start wanted that number lowered to the mid 40s range.
This weekend the players offered to lower their percentage to 51 percent with the expectation it would nicrease to 53 percent over the duration of the new agreement; this was rejected by the owners. The owners offered up 49 percent with the understanding it would increase to 51 percent; the players rejected that offer.
Despite being so close to it, the players and owners for some reason refuse to agree upon a 50-50 split. David Stern and the owners have not yet given a good reason as to why, but Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher offered up their explanation for the player’s refusal in a letter to the union.
“The overwhelming feeling was that the players are prepared to sacrifice and stand for what we believe is fair. The clear message we have received from the players, and the one we will heed, is not to back down. Yesterday, the owners gave us an opportunity to back down. We refused.”
-Letter to the Union by Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter
No meetings have been planned for Thursday and Saturday is assumed to be off the table for talks to observe the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. David Stern has said that Monday will be the deadline for a new deal. If one is not reached by then, the first two weeks of the NBA’s 2011 season will be canceled. This will mean all the opening night games that were slated (and seemed highly touted) will never take place.
This means the Bulls nationally televised game against the defending champion Dallas Mavericks will be the first of many games to go. Just the first casualty of what seems will be many NBA games this season.