NBA agents urge clients not to cave in
On the eve of what is being described as a "very huge day" in the NBA's labor talks Tuesday, a group of agents whose firms represent more than half the players in the league sent a letter to their clients urging them not to back down on a number of core issues.
In the letter, which was obtained by Sports Illustrated, Arn Tellem (Wasserman Media Group), Bill Duffy (BDA Sports), Dan Fegan (Lagardere Unlimited), Jeff Schwartz (Excel Sports Management), Leon Rose and Henry Thomas (Creative Artists Agency) and Mark Bartelstein (Priority Sports and Entertainment) demand that the players do not agree to drop their portion of basketball-related income below the 52 percent that has already been offered by the National Basketball Players' Association.
The athletes were also encouraged not to allow a reduction in salary from the current levels for maximum contract players and to "refuse any deal that excludes players from the explosive growth of the NBA."
The letter came with the lockout in its fourth month and the cancellation of the start of the NBA season -- scheduled for November 1 -- a major possibility.
On Monday the union and owners met for a small-group session in New York to "set the table" for a larger meeting Tuesday, Sports Illustrated reported.
"Setting the table means that each side understands exactly what's at stake and where, potentially, there is movement in order to try to get a deal done," NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said.
"We can only say we are running out of time so many times. We are now very close to the point where we are going to begin losing the rest of the regular season -- we are going to miss the rest of the preseason, and very shortly are going to have to cancel regular season games."
Union president Derek Fisher added, "A lot of signs point to tomorrow [Tuesday] being a very huge day.
"There will be a lot of pressure on all of us in the room, and we'll accept that responsibility and go in and see what we can get worked out."