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OutletPass
07-08-2003, 09:14 AM
Missed option deadline makes Carter a free agent

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By Marc Stein
ESPN.com


Bill Duffy, the agent for Miami Heat guard Anthony Carter, told ESPN.com on Monday that a clerical error in his office led to the missed contract deadline that threatens to cost Carter the bulk of his $4.1 million salary next season.

Carter was required to notify the Heat by June 30 that he intended to invoke the player option on the final season of his original three-year, $12 million contract. When the Heat received no such notification, the NBA officially listed Carter as a free agent Tuesday -- the first day teams were permitted to negotiate with free agents.

If Miami renounces its rights to Carter, it could have closer to $11 million in available salary cap room than the $7 million previously estimated -- a difference expected to immediately transform the Heat into a major player on this summer's free-agent market.

"I feel sick for the person in our office who was responsible (for monitoring Carter's situation and contacting the Heat) and he feels sick about it," Duffy said. "This is obviously an unfortunate situation, but it's my name on the company and I'll take responsibility for it."

Duffy, who refused to name the employee, ranks as one of the league's most well-respected agents, with a client list featuring three of the top four picks in the 2002 draft: Houston's Yao Ming, Chicago's Jay Williams and Orlando's Drew Gooden. In October, Duffy was named one of the NBA's top 25 "shapers and shakers" by ESPN The Magazine.

It remains to be seen how the Heat will proceed in response to the Carter camp's costly mistake or the potential windfall that stems from the error. Carter's contract previously had been regarded as one of the main impediments to Miami making a free-agent splash, since his production last season -- 4.1 points per game on 35.6-percent shooting -- is not commensurate with a $4 million player.

Renouncing its rights to Carter and center Alonzo Mourning, who is expected to sign with Dallas or another championship contender, would provide Heat coach and president Pat Riley with the financial wherewithal to pursue Golden State point guard Gilbert Arenas, or perhaps Los Angeles Clippers restricted free agent Lamar Odom. Milwaukee guard Gary Payton has also expressed interest in Miami, if his talks with the Los Angeles Lakers dissolve. Two more possibilities: Miami could try to split their money between two younger free agents, or save the cap room in hopes of creating even more space for the summer of 2004.

To further muddle matters, another Duffy client, Clippers center Michael Olowokandi, is high on Miami's wish list in any scenario. If Olowokandi signs with the Heat this summer, the contract figures to attract added scrutiny from the league office.

Of course, there remains a chance that the Heat could take a benevolent stance and offer to re-sign Carter at a reduced rate. That would still create some extra salary cap room but could also help Carter recoup some of the money he is certain to lose. On the open market, it's highly unlikely that Carter could command anything more than the $688,679 league-minimum salary for players with four seasons of experience.

"There's a very good relationship between BDA Sports Management and the Miami Heat," Duffy said. "I think they hold AC in high regard as a player and a person, and we're optimistic that we can reach an honorable solution."

Heat officials declined comment Monday. Carter is in Atlanta and could not be reached.

MFFL
07-08-2003, 09:31 AM
I wonder if Carter is going to sue Duffy for the difference in salary?

kg_veteran
07-08-2003, 09:33 AM
He should.

MFFL
07-08-2003, 09:36 AM
Does he have a case. I mean, isn't an agent supposed to handle details like that?

MavsFanFinley
07-08-2003, 09:39 AM
I liked this quote from Duffy.


"I feel sick for the person in our office who was responsible (for monitoring Carter's situation and contacting the Heat) and he feels sick about it," Duffy said. "This is obviously an unfortunate situation, but it's my name on the company and I'll take responsibility for it."

He'll take responsibility but he also needed to point out that it wasn't his fault either. He feels sick about it. i/expressions/moon.gif

OutletPass
07-08-2003, 09:40 AM
He'll sue....unless he gets a better deal...which I doubt.

Mark my words...he'll sue.

MFFL
07-08-2003, 09:52 AM
Originally posted by: OutletPass
He'll sue....unless he gets a better deal...which I doubt.

Mark my words...he'll sue.

I'm not usually in favor of suing over every little thing but this definitely needs to be corrected

Dooby
07-08-2003, 09:53 AM
In theory, and this is purely my paranoid conjecture here, there could be something else here. Carter hasn't been renounced by the Heat. Carter, until renounced, counts against the cap for about 200% of last year's salary, which is still less than the $4.1M he could have made by sending a fax on June 30. Theoretically, the Heat could now sign a player for the close to the max, then offer Carter a 1 year bird contract for more than the $4.1M he would have earned.

Hey, maybe I am paranoid, but that is how my mind works. Doubt this is what actually happened though. But this is the same Heat team that reached a deal with Alonzo Mourning, kept it quiet and made a deal with Juwan Howard, only to have the Howard deal later voided by the league for circumventing the salary cap.

MFFL
07-08-2003, 09:57 AM
You have a devious mind dooby. I respect that.

kg_veteran
07-08-2003, 10:21 AM
Originally posted by: MFFL
Does he have a case. I mean, isn't an agent supposed to handle details like that?

We'd probably have to see a copy of Duffy's contract with Carter to know for sure, but I'm almost certain that Duffy would have contractually agreed to handle these types of matters for Carter. Duffy's own quote about the "guy in his office" who was supposed to handle it indicates that Duffy was responsible. If that's the case, Duffy's screwed. He'll have to make up the difference.

I'm actually not very litigious myself, but this is a multi-million dollar contract that fell through because of the agent's negligence. He should be held responsible.

Dooby
07-08-2003, 10:43 AM
Is Duffy a lawyer?

kg_veteran
07-08-2003, 11:14 AM
Originally posted by: Dooby
Is Duffy a lawyer?

I don't know, but if he is, he's really screwed. i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif

Drbio
07-08-2003, 01:38 PM
Put it on Carter where it belongs. It was HIS contract after all. The day after the season was over Iwould have sent a certified letter to the Heat stating that I was excercising the damn option. What a stupid move by Carter.

Mandyahl
07-08-2003, 01:45 PM
but is it carter's responsibility? who is supposed to take care of this kind of thing, the agent or the player? because if carter thinks somone else is taking care of it, then it is not really his fault, although you would think he would have checked up on it or something.

kg_veteran
07-08-2003, 01:55 PM
Originally posted by: Drbio
Put it on Carter where it belongs. It was HIS contract after all. The day after the season was over Iwould have sent a certified letter to the Heat stating that I was excercising the damn option. What a stupid move by Carter.

You assume (probably incorrectly) that Carter even knew what his contract said. That's the reason that players have agents. They're rich because they're good at playing basketball (okay, Carter might be an exception), not because they know how to negotiate (or read) contracts.

Besides, even Duffy admits that he and his agency were responsible:

"I feel sick for the person in our office who was responsible (for monitoring Carter's situation and contacting the Heat) and he feels sick about it," Duffy said. "This is obviously an unfortunate situation, but it's my name on the company and I'll take responsibility for it."

It's not really an issue of whether Carter or his agent was responsible. It's only an issue of whether the Heat will take care of Carter somehow and help his agent to save face.

I like the Olowokandi conspiracy angle discussed in the article.

Mandyahl
07-08-2003, 02:04 PM
i hadn't even seen the olowokandi conspiracy thing until you pointed it out, kg. that's very interesting that duffy and the heat, and maybe even kandi and carter, could have gotten together and planned all this. i can actually see that, considering how dumb it was that duffy's office didn't contact the heat. it will be interesting to see how all of this plays out.

Dooby
07-08-2003, 02:13 PM
Originally posted by: Drbio
Put it on Carter where it belongs. It was HIS contract after all. The day after the season was over Iwould have sent a certified letter to the Heat stating that I was excercising the damn option. What a stupid move by Carter.

Doc, when was the last time I told you you were wrong? This is one of those rare times. I have no question in my mind that Duffy was supposed to send that letter. If Duffy's a lawyer, this is clear malpractice. Treating an agent as a lawyer, it was Duffy's obligation, at a minimum, to remind Carter of his obligations and the terms of his contract and if directed, send the notice personally. Now I can certainly see a scenario where it is Carter's job to send the notice, but I consider it unlikely. These agents get a commission of, what, 5-10%? On a 12M contract, that can be $600k to $1.2M in commissions. For that money, my agent can send the stupid letter.

kg_veteran
07-08-2003, 02:18 PM
If Duffy's a lawyer, this is clear malpractice.

No question about it. Also, as the agent it's probably a breach of contract, because I'm willing to bet the agency agreement they signed states that Duffy is responsible to handle these types of things.

Dooby
07-08-2003, 02:39 PM
yeah, but I don't like the breach of contract angle nearly as much, because I bet the language is drafted heavily in Duffy's favor. Though lilely unenforceable, there is probably a limitation on damages provision. Just muddies the water. Breach of fiduciary duty; that is the way to go.