Saturday, December 1, 2007
Dan Fegan (Anderson Varejao's agent) takes center stage
Came across this very interesting article by Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Branson Wright yesterday (November 28, 2007). Wright brings to light very good points in the Anderson Varejao, Agent Dan Fegan, and Cleveland Cavaliers contract holdout fiasco.
"When Anderson Varejao told ESPN.com that he's become so frustrated with contract negotiations that he doesn't want to play for the Cavaliers anymore, many wondered if it was Varejao speaking for himself, or his agent Dan Fegan, who has the reputation as a shrewd negotiator and malcontent.
Former Cavs guard Ricky Davis said he is positive Fegan is behind this stalemate. Fegan was Davis' agent for two years.
"He doesn't need to be an agent," said Davis, about Fegan. "He does dirty stuff, under-the-table things. [Varejao] needs to change agents immediately if he wants to get this thing done."
So far, nothing between the Cavs and Varejao has been done. Varejao has not been with the Cavs all season. He's a holdout because his contract demand -- $10 million per year, at one time -- has not been met. He also turned down a $1.2 million qualifying offer and a six-year deal for about $52 million last month.
This is not the first time Fegan has been part of a controversial contract negotiation. Many general managers, who did not want to be identified, said they do not like to negotiate with Fegan. They also acknowledged Fegan's intelligence.
Fegan, who did not return several calls to his cell phone Tuesday, is a graduate of Yale Law School. He was one of the first agents to take advantage of the one-year opt-out provision, which allows a player to get out of a contract after a year. He was also one of the first to utilize the sign-and-trade provision, which allows a team to sign a player with the intent of trading him to another team.
Fegan represents many players, including Phoenix Suns forward Shawn Marion, Milwaukee Bucks rookie Yi Jianlian and Denver Nuggets forward Nene.
Before training camp, Marion, the highest-paid player on the Suns, was upset the Suns were not willing to talk about a contract extension. Many believed Marion was urged by Fegan. Eventually, Marion eased off his demands.
Yi, the sixth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, said he would not play for the Bucks if they drafted him. Yi desired a larger market. Again, Fegan was behind the ploy, but just like Marion, Yi eased off his demands and signed with the Bucks.
"He's a crazy guy," said one agent, who did not want to be identified. "He's known for picking up guys in their contract years, and that's taboo in our industry. He did that with so many players, including Varejao. He's not well-liked among other agents. . . . His biggest problem is that he doesn't care about relationships. It can't always be about the money."
The situation between the Cavs and Varejao has been about money. Varejao wants more, and the Cavs want to save money to become more flexible in years to come, especially when LeBron James' contract expires after the 2010 season.
Another agent, who also didn't want to be identified, said there's a bigger issue on the table.
"Fegan's whole reputation is based on what happens with Varejao," said the rival agent. "Fegan's trying to show how tough of an agent he is. Every agent, every GM and every player is watching to see how this works out. If the Cavs budge, Fegan will sign a hundred clients."
That's the flip side. Fegan is respected for his tough negotiation tactics, and many agents admire him. Those same agents also want to see if this holdout by Varejao transpires into dividends.
"If this works, we'll all have our players hold out," said the agent. "It'll change the face of negotiations in the NBA. So what's going on between the Cavs and Fegan is very important because if it works out for Fegan, this will change the whole game. But if he fails, he'll look like an idiot."
Cavs GM Danny Ferry declined to comment for this story."
"It'll change the face of negotiations in the NBA" is hardly an understatement. If Fegan's negotiation tactics do turn out to be lucrative for Varejao (meaning Varejao gets something in the vicinity of the contract that he wants or substantially more than the one-year qualifying offer mandated by the NBA's collective bargaining agreement for players with three years experience), it will open up the doors for other agents to suggest...no demand...their clients (the players) to hold out because, "if Anderson Varejao can get his money, what more you? Your so much better than he!"
Now that statement is highly exaggerated but you guys get the idea.
So Cleveland...GM Danny Ferry...the ball is in your court.
Don't drop it!
Now playing: Samantha James - Breathe You In