Prominent NBA agent criticizes players union's search for new leader

Thursday March 13th, 2014

Kevin Love and Blake Griffin are both clients of agent Jeff Schwartz. (Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images) Kevin Love and Blake Griffin are both clients of agent Jeff Schwartz. (Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)

The NBA Players Association has been without an Executive Director since Billy Hunter stepped down last year. One prominent agent, Jeff Schwartz, whose company Excel Sports Management represents the likes of Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, Deron Williams and Paul Pierce, thinks that needs to change.

In an editorial written for ESPN's TrueHoop blog, Schwartz said the process to find a new Executive Director needs to be transparent, and that this is a critical time for players, whom he believes were negatively affected by the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement.

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"Salaries are down leaguewide, contracts are shorter and include less guaranteed money than they once did and free-agent movement has been curtailed significantly at a time that NBA franchises are reaching record valuations," Schwartz wrote. "Leadership from the union's next Executive Director is essential to the ability of current and future generations of NBA players to restore many of the critical benefits that were lost in the last round of negotiations, but here we are again witnessing a search marked by the sort of troubling secrecy that has been synonymous with the NBPA for years."

Schwartz said the only way to fix the search at this point is to start all over again.

"The process leading to that selection, accordingly, must involve all of us who are concerned with the well-being of NBA players," he wrote. "The players have earned the right to find the most astute union head to protect and expand their interests in the 21st century. The next 10 years in the NBA are poised to be enormously profitable thanks to the fast-rising valuations of media rights and the global demand for the sport of basketball. The players have to make sure they are not left behind."
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