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Stan the Plan? (Part IV: Memory Lane)

Via means far too boring and attenuated to divulge in this space, I have re-discovered my copy of the 1988 Inside Sports magazine baseball preview. That's right: 1988. Like I said, don't ask.

At any rate, the opening section of the magazine, The Insider, contains a one-page article entitled "NBA's GMs: Different Routes, Same Destination." The article, by happy coincidence, devotes a significant amount of attention to the thoughts of one Stan Kasten, then the GM of the Atlanta Hawks and then the reigning NBA Executive of the Year, two years running. The article even provides a photograph of Kasten, taking a break from his duties reading through books and papers (but, proving this article was written in 1988, a complete absence of a personal computer), flashing a happy little grin.

And, yes, back then Mr. Kasten was bald---though somewhat less so.

The article discusses the different manners in which general managers of that time period viewed their roles. Some guys, like Norm Sonju of the Dallas Mavericks, did everything. Some guys, like Harry Weltman of the New Jersey Nets, considered the business side too sophisticated to be handled by one man. Some guys, like Donnie Walsh of the Indiana Pacers, hated sitting through games. (Too nervous and jittery.)

And some guys, like Kasten, hated negotiating contracts and dealing with agents:

I dislike the bull that goes on between agents and teams and the media. Everyone gets signed ultimately, so what is all this crap? That's what irritates me most of all, the fact that you know these guys are all going to sign eventually.

"Contract negotiations are usually such a waste of time and breath. But agents have to get their publicity to get future clients, and they try to use the media. I think that's a lot of it."

As recounted at this site, it appears that many veterans were in the position to be unrestricted free agents by 1988, but there still existed compensation and team right-of-first-refusal aspects in the NBA collective bargaining agreement at that time.

Anyway, Kasten's disdain of agents is certainly well-documented---so well-documented, I suppose, that one can randomly find an 18 year-old magazine and there he is, disdaining the agents!

Note: This blog entry expresses no viewpoint on whether Kasten's thoughts on dealing with agents in 1988 have any bearing on what Kasten will do in 2006-07.