The National Basketball Players Association certifies agents before they can work with its players, and to become certified, agents must agree to a set of rules. Among them:
B. Prohibited Conduct Subject to DisciplineTo further effectuate the objectives of these Regulations players agents are prohibited from:
(b) Providing or offering a monetary inducement (other than a fee less than the maximum fee contained in the standard fee agreement established by these Regulations) to any player (including a rookie) or college athlete to induce or encourage that person to utilize his services
I doubt this rule is enforced rigorously, and I don’t understand why it’s on the books in the first place. The NBPA is the body mandating this rule. Why should that organization prevent players from getting monetary inducements? What’s the harm for the players? I see why agents would want the rule, but the players have the power here. If agents want to give players money – or other enticements – to sign with them, let them.
But the rule exists, and because it does, it’s legally binding.
Julia Marsh and David K. Li of the New York Post:
Andy Miller and his ASM Sports agency of Edgewater, NJ, filed suit in Manhattan against powerhouse Beverly Hills firm Relativity Sports, accusing them of playing dirty over Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders.“Through the use of private planes, celebrity encounters and hedonistic parties,” the Manhattan Supreme Court suit claims, Relativity poached Sanders after Miller’s firm turned him from bust to break out star, according to the Manhattan Supreme Court filing.
There are two interesting, but not necessarily legally relevant bits of information to accompany this.1. Miller was successfully sued three years ago for stealing a client from Keith Glass.2. Relativity represented Sanders before Miller did, too. Marsh and Li:
Miller claims his firm picked up Sanders after Relativity dumped him following a disastrous rookie season. Sanders was relegated to the bench for most of 2010-’11 and even suffered the indignity of demotion to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA’ s D-League.“Miller helped re-shape Sanders’ attitude toward his physical conditioning,” according to the lawsuit. “Miller made sure that Sanders’ attitude in other areas improved, most notably decreasing the amount of time that Sanders spent partying.”
Now, here’s a legally relevant bit of information:
Miller claims he had negotiated a four-year, $41 million contract extension for Sanders before he was suddenly dropped in favor of Relativity and its big-wig execs Happy Walters and Dan Fegan.
While represented by Relativity, Sanders signed a four-year, $44 million contract extension – an extra $3 million.Case closed? Not quite, but that definitely puts the onus on Miller to present compelling evidence to Relativity’s wrongdoing.