David Stern has tried to paint NBA agents as a malevolent force during this lockout — maybe not Voldemort himself (that would be Jeffry Kessler) but more Dementors. Men who suck the joy out of the game.
But this lockout hurts the agents, too. They all hustle because they live on commission, you’ve got to get clients and keep them happy. They tend to take a long-term view of things (they’ll fight for larger salaries and more player movement because it will help them make more money) but in the short term they are working for free.
One of the biggest agents, Mark Bartelstein, spoke about it, via CSNChicago.com.
Since he and his fellow agents are paid by commission (usually 3 to 5 percent on team contracts according to ChicagoBusiness.com), Bartelstein is losing a lot of money from this lockout as well.
“I’m actually working harder than ever — 18-, 19-hour days,” he said in theChicagoBusiness.com article. “There’s so much you have to deal with on a daily basis. And to not be getting paid…it’s not fun.”
Bartelstein is clearly siding with players every step of the way, saying, “Just because something is painful, distasteful, doesn’t mean you say, ‘OK, fine, I’ll take this horrible deal.’ The owner’s strategy was based on the thought the players will cave when they start losing money. That’s what they were banking on.”
That’s true. Some owners (many maybe) really are waiting for the players to just cave in. The agents do not want that to happen because it’s not in the best interest of the agents. Nor their clients. The interests of agents and players are not completely concentric circles, but there is a lot of overlap.
But neither the players nor the agents can go without paychecks forever. And the owners know that.