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NBA AGENTS TRY TO SLOW RUNAWAY LABOR NEGOTIATIONS
Published June 19, 1995
"With NBA team owners and the players union seemingly on the verge of a new and dramatically different labor agreement, a prominent group of agents is complaining that the secrecy of the negotiations has left most players uninformed about the contents of the new deal," according to Richard Justice in this morning's WASHINGTON POST. Fifteen agents on the NBPA's Agent Advisory Committee sent a letter to NBPA Exec Dir Simon Gourdine charging him with failing to "consult with, fully inform and represent" the view of the rank-and-file in negotiations. The agents believe that NBPA members will not be allowed to vote on a new CBA. A meeting of player reps is scheduled for Friday, "apparently to approve the new agreement." The letter terms the exclusion of players from the process "outrageous" and calls for a regional briefing sessions (WASHINGTON POST, 6/19). HOW YOU GONNA KEEP 'EM DOWN ON THE FARM? According to Murray Chass of the N.Y. TIMES, "agents said an owner told them that [NBA Commissioner David] Stern told Gourdine to withhold all information so that agents couldn't become involved and create a roadblock to easy ratification." The agents say any details they have come from owners, who believe an agreement is a "done deal." In addition to a salary cap hike from a soft $16M to a hard $23M and a rookie cap, the deal is said to include a luxury tax on teams that re-sign their free agents at levels above the cap. Chass reports, "The agents said neither they nor their clients had ever heard, until now, of a luxury tax being discussed" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/19). In Boston, Jackie MacMullan writes that a "showdown" between agents and Gourdine "threatens to throw a major wrench into the negotiation process." A meeting of NBPA player reps scheduled for tomorrow has been moved to Friday, at which time, sources tell the agents, Gourdine plans to brief the player reps on the specifics "just before they vote for ratification" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/19). AGENTS IN AN UPROAR: Marc Fleisher: "At this point, I'm willing to give Simon Gourdine the benefit of the doubt. However, if this deal turns out to be as bad as we've heard, the players will have no choice but to reject the proposed deal." One Advisory Committee member: "Simon is trying to steamroll his way through on this, but he can't keep his constituency in the dark. The player reps have a right to know what is going on" (Jackie McMullan, BOSTON GLOBE, 6/19). David Falk, President of F.A.M.E. and representative of Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing among others, said that Ewing called Gourdine for an update -- "and Gourdine told Ewing he couldn't do that" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/19). SINCERELY: The agents who signed the letter: Bill Strickland, David Falk, George Andrews, Lee Fentress, Jeff Austin, Marc and Eric Fleisher, Keith Glass, Ron Grinker, Steve Kauffman, Herb Rudoy, Kyle Rote, Fred Slaughter, Arn Tellem and Mark Termini (WASHINGTON POST, 6/19).