Few have as much at stake without a seat at the table as NBA agents. It’s their direct livelihood being discussed, how they can do their job, but they have no real say.
And you’d be hard to find a more pessimistic group about how long this lockout is going to drag out.
Look what Bill Duffy of BDA Sports (Steve Nash, Rajon Rondo, Brandon Jennings and many others) told Michael Lee of the Washington Post.
“I certainly don’t feel like there is any super urgency. I really don’t know what’s going to be accomplished between now and maybe three weeks to a month before training camp,” Duffy said. “It’s like the Democrats and Republicans trying to figure out the federal deficit, polar extreme opposites. It’s the power and the will of each party. It’s kind of an untenable situation, for both parties, it appears. Everyone’s perspective is at an extreme. I don’t think ours is extreme because we have a current model that’s kind of restrictive, if you can ask an agent. But league, obviously, is trying to impose their will.”
Mark Bartelstein, head of Priority Sports, whose client list includes Danny Granger, David Lee and Nick Young, also expects this to be a protracted process. “If you look at the proposals from the league, they’ve shown no motivation to make a deal, other than hitting the biggest home run of all time. That doesn’t give you a lot of thought that they are going in the right direction. It’s going in the wrong direction. I think it’s going to be a long time.”
One other note I’ve heard from agents and their people: If the NBA owners do try to force rollbacks of current salaries on the players, those agents may go to court to try and block it. Essentially, they will argue the owners have to live up to the current signed contracts, no matter what structure is in place for the next set of deals.
Oh, this is just going to get so ugly.