NBA Lockout: Agent Denies Players' Union Coup Attempt

Last week, the NBA lockout turned into a Clancy, with wide reports that five top agents were plotting to execute backdoor decertification and, as a result, knock National Basketball Players Association director Billy Hunter from power. In response, Hunter brought NFLPA director DeMaurice Smith to a players' meeting to calm the decertification storm while NBPA president Derek Fisher fired off a letter to players aimed at neutering the overthrow attempt.

Did it work? We'll see. But if the current pleas of Mark Bartelstein -- one of the powerful agents said to be involved in the clandestine decert push -- are any indiciation, we can award the point to Hunter and Fisher. In an interview with SI.com's Sam Amick, Bartelstein denies any backroom strategizing among agents to knock Hunter out of power has happened.

The way this thing reads, it's like there's all this plotting going on. That's just not true. The idea has never been to blow up the union. This idea that there's a secret agents to blow the union up is completely wrong. The idea that there's this diabolical plan going on is wrong.

Diabolical plans are in the eyes of the beholders; no doubt Bartelstein and Hunter could see the identical meeting in different ways based on their positions and biases. It's hard to imagine Hunter and Fisher would respond so forcefully if they didn't believe all that smoke was put off by a fire Bartelstein was involved in creating. But it's easy to see how, at the same time, the plan may have been exagerrated as everyone gets a bit more touchy in these stress-riddled times.

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