Gilbert Arenas may have been the first NBA player to have a popular blog, but he is definitely not the first athlete to represent himself in contractual negotiations with professional teams [Daunte Culpepper Needs Our Help]. Just yesterday, I discussed the negatives of being your own agent in contractual matters with the team that may sign you. Gilbert Arenas, self-dubbed Agent Zero, is another player who has decided to go this route.
I have ridiculous amounts of respect for what Arenas has been able to do to bolster his reputation in a short period of time. He has gone from a player at the University of Arizona who was never supposed to get a minute of playing time (hence the number on his jersey, 0 and his nickname Agent Zero) to a popular guard on the court and an even more popular figure when not playing. He has broken the traditional marketing tactics that many professional athletes employ, creating his own blog, joking around with the media, and speaking to the media as much as possible instead of avoiding the press.
But should he be representing himself in talks with his team? I still say no. Check out yesterday’s post concerning Daunte Culpepper and the links within that post to previous articles about the topic. Gilbert Arenas is a smart, savvy man, but that does not mean that he is best suited to negotiate with the team that he is currently under contract with.
Yesterday, Arenas told two Washington D.C. newspapers that he will not extend his current contract with the Washington Wizards after next season (when he has an option to extend). This may be one instance where Arenas may have hurt certain relationships with his extroverted personality. There really is no reason to even speak of this matter before next season begins, which is something that an agent (other than Agent Zero) may advise against doing. But that’s not even the main issue.
It is definitely a smart business move to opt out of his contract after next season, even if he were to resign with the Washington Wizards. He will make more money this way. But something makes me feel uneasy as a fan and would especially make me feel uneasy as a current teammate of Arenas or owner of the Wizards. It’s when Arenas says to the Washington Post:
“I’m not looking at anything else. It’s just business. If something happens where they don’t want me or they’re going in a different direction, I can look elsewhere. But my intentions are not to leave.” [Arenas Says He Will Opt Out of Deal in ’08]
And then to the Washington Times:
“I’m going to opt out and consider some other teams next year…I want to test the market and test my value.” [Arenas’ call]
It seems like he is saying two different things to two separate newspapers operating in the same market. I also have a tough time reading a player saying those comments that are usually made by one’s agent. Arenas, you are still rehabbing your leg. You say yourself that you are only “Agent” right now, half way back to Agent Zero [What’s Poppin’?]. I have some advice for you. Hire an outside agent to get you all the zeros that you deserve.