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Old Deal, New Deal Economics

Posted Monday/March 8, 1999; 8:01 a.m. PST

Hereís a quick lesson on what was at stake and why WeTheFans should have been at the table of the NBA collective bargaining talks. Case in point: Antonio McDyess

Once the deal was "officially" done, it was the "NBA meets the Kentucky Derby!" Agents, general managers and players came BUSTING out of the gates! The waving of the green flag (or was it "white"?) was the signal to about 200 free agents that it was time to become "unfree" as they moved through the crash-pre-season-session of "Letís Make a Deal." One of the most highly sought after was Antonio McDyess.

McDyess has only been in the NBA for three seasons. He played for the Suns last season after his first two as a Denver Nugget. Being such a coveted free agent, A.M. must have been looking at his stock as a player closer than a Wall Street investment banker hawk-eyeing a new IPO. Depending on what "side" of the table things fell in the collective bargaining negotiations, Mr. McDyess stood to either gain or lose a substantial amount of money. Lesson #1.

Now, here's why the owners were "hating" the old collective bargaining agreement. Under the old deal, McDyess could have received a seven-year contract in the neighborhood of $120 million from one of the "lucky" owners. To the owners' and WeTheFans chagrin, the line where these deals were to be handed out would have only "begun" with McDyess and there were more than a few "hungry" guys in it. Lesson #2.

Here's why the owners are "loving" the new deal. Free Agent #1 (not to be confused with Agent 86 or 99) McDyess signed a six year-$65.7 million. Antonio's new deal is worth about half of the "You The Man" deal that he really wanted. Lesson #3.

Now, here's why WeTheFans should should have been at the table to "balance the power" and help stop the MADNESS. We're talkin' about a $60 MILLION SWING!!!! The difference between "free agent Antonio Old Deal" and "free agent McDyess New Deal" is SIXTY MIL! McDyess is going to be the same player no matter what he makes, but that "$60 million snowball" would have just "rolled downhill" for the Fans to catch with their wallets. Having Fan Union Representatives at the table would help prevent multi-multi-million "cost over runs" that the Fans have to pay for. Lesson #4.

NBA collective bargaining is a high-stakes poker game. Unfortunately, the Fans weren't at the table and the two guys that were, played our hands for us! End of lesson.



signed for

HALF of the

deal he really

wanted and

STILL got $65


Wasn't he a

"free" agent?

Good thing

he wasn't

a "non-free"



definition, it

would be great

to be a

"free Fan!"