Will Players (At Behest Of Agents) Walk Out Of NBA Lockout Talks?

As the doomsday clock ticks its way to basketball armageddon, Tuesday's NBA lockout talks now seem to have the potential for spectacular implosion. Agents have begun agitating for a fair deal for players, and have become (almost) openly hostile toward union leadership. Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski quotes one anonymous player agent who said that NBA commissioner David Stern fears having to answer to agents rather than Billy Hunter, the director of the National Basketball Players Association.

"Stern doesn't want to deal with us; he wants Billy and his lawyers in there. Maybe if Stern's faced with revealing financial records, legal costs and paying possibly billions in damages, maybe he'll have more incentive to make a deal than sitting across the room from Hunter, eat turkey sandwiches and taking a percentage point at a time away from the players."

CBS Sports' Ken Berger reports that agents have a new nickname for Hunter.

Billy "Giveback" Hunter, one agent referred to him as on the phone early Tuesday -- and it got worse from there, much more mean-spirited and unfair and too angry, honestly, to publish any more. There is real anger here among the agents, some of whom are advising their clients not to vote for a deal that gives back one dollar of the players' 57 percent of revenues -- even as the National Basketball Players Association is believed to have offered 53 percent and maybe lower.

Berger warns that if the owners don't bring a deal substantially closer to the status quo than what has heretofore been offered, agents will go through with their plan to force a union vote on decertification and the eventual replacement of Hunter. Fun times.

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