Elton Brand’s agent David Falk responded to the latest accusations by Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy in an interview with ESPN’s Marc Stein.
“This is what I want to say emphatically: The process was flawed,” Falk said. “The team should not be having two simultaneous negotiations with a player and his agent. But that’s the team’s responsibility, not the player’s. I’m not happy about it, I’m not gloating about it. I regret that the process was flawed, but I don’t take any responsibility that the process was flawed.
“Mike and I have had a good friendship for 20 years. [But] Mike has acknowledged that he and Elton were having a private dialogue, which is illegal and a violation of the collective bargaining agreement for teams to do that when they know he has a registered agent. I wouldn’t expect [Cleveland Cavaliers vice president] Danny Ferry, who’s a former client, or [Denver Nuggets vice president] Rex Chapman, who’s a former client, or [Charlotte Bobcats president] Michael Jordan to be negotiating behind my back. I think it’s unethical.
“Had the process not begun with private discussions between the team and the player that should have never taken place, [Brand would] probably be there today. Had they put [their best] offer on the table initially instead of only when another team forced their hand, I don’t think we’d be having these discussions today. Had they told us they would use their competitive advantage by offering a sixth year that no other team could offer, there could have been a different outcome. That’s the bottom line.
“They had enough cap room to pay Baron [Davis] what they were going to pay him and sign Elton for five years and $82 million or six years and a $100 million. To ask him to come down from $100 million to $70 million or $75 million, it’s patently unrealistic for him to accept that. There isn’t a player [of Brand's stature] who would accept that.
“Whether Elton said to Mike that I’m happy at X or happy at Y, I’m not disputing that. If Mike says it happened, it happened. But it should have never happened because Mike should have never allowed those discussions to take place.”
For the record, here’s what Dunleavy had to say when I asked him whether he’d gone behind Falk’s back to negotiate with Brand (a la A-Rod and the Yankees last fall).
“I didn’t negotiate with him, I didn’t go behind (Falk’s) back,” Dunleavy said. “It was my player coming to me and making a request of me to go to the owner. And I did it. the owner was receptive to me and I did it.”