NBA offseason a time for rebuilding and bloodletting

by Adam Burns

Daily Cougar Staff

The NBA Finals are over, and depending on your point of view, teams either have a pristine opportunity to improve on their clubs, or it's time for the bloodsucking to begin.

With the deepest free-agent market in the history of the NBA, teams can clean up on talent but can also be taken to the cleaners by greedy agents.

The biggest name in free agents is Michael Jordan, and his agent, David Falk, the biggest name in NBA agents (or `disgusting, scum-sucking leech' to his close personal friends), will probably rake in millions with new contracts.

Falk is one of the key reasons that NBA salaries keep rocketing to ridiculous levels and that ticket prices are never far behind.

Jordan has indicated that he wants a ridiculous sum of $18 million a year for two years from the Chicago Bulls or he's leaving.

One outlandish justification for the price tag is, "Jim Carrey was paid $20 million for The Cable Guy, so why can't Jordan make $18 million?"

Well, first of all, it's an entirely different field. The president of the United States makes about $200,000, and that isn't being used as a measuring stick for pro sports salaries, so why bring up movies?

Second of all, there weren't 12 other guys in that movie who wanted multimillion-dollar contracts.

But the biggest problem is not that Jordan doesn't deserve the money -- he is the prize player in a multibillion-dollar sport, so there can be a slight justification.

The biggest problems are: One, other players who know their teams would go down the tubes without them but are not good enough to win a championship (Juwon Howard, for instance) will start asking for $15 million a year when their contracts run out or threaten to skip town. Two, Falk will get $1.8 million on this deal alone, more than most NBA coaches and many players make.

Throw in the rest of his client list -- Howard, Alonzo Mourning, Allen Iverson, Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing, to name a few -- and Falk, at 10 percent a pop, makes more in a year than all but the top NBA players do.

Howard and Mourning are also free agents and will probably ask for contracts in the $12 million-a-year range.

Coincidence that both are Falk's clients? No.

The solution is simple: NBA teams should band together and tell David Falk to take a hike. This may be construed as collusion, so don't tell anybody.