By Ross Kelly
July 8, 2015 will go down as one of the most infamous days in NBA free agency history. To make a long, emoji-filled story short, DeAndre Jordan reneged on a “gentlemen’s agreement” with the Dallas Mavericks, spurned their handshake deal, and returned to the Los Angeles Clippers. But this is not the first instance in the NBA, or sports in general, that an informal agreement was compromised. Here are six other instances when an alleged gentlemen’s agreement was broken:
Sean Payton and Jim Harbaugh
According to Colin Kaepernick, in his first preseason NFL game in 2011 the Saints blitzed him approximately 108 times. The Saints’ radio play-by-play man said Sean Payton gave the green light to the blitz-heavy scheme due to him not receiving a phone call from 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh before the game. Apparently during preseason coaches like to draw up a “gentlemen’s agreement” on how the game would be played. Harbaugh, unsurprisingly, wanted to do his own thing and his rookie QB was the casualty.
Tom Coughlin and Greg Schiano
It’s pretty much an unwritten rule in the NFL that when the offense lines up for the victory formation, the defense concedes and offers little resistance. Bucs’ rookie coach Greg Schiano didn’t get that memo in 2012 in a game vs. the Giants and had his team playing like it was 3rd down in a tie game. They rushed the Giants and ended up knocking over Eli Manning which enraged Tom Coughlin and the Giants. Many players said that’s something you just don’t do in the NFL but
MLB owners vs. Dave Kingman
In 1984 Dave Kingman hit 35 home runs for the Athletics. In 1985 he hit 30 home runs and then in ’86 he again hit 35 home runs (second in AL). Somehow, when the 1987 season rolled around Kingman couldn’t even get an MLB job. He alleged that there was a gentlemen’s agreement among the 26 MLB owners to keep him out of baseball through collusion. After a series of rulings, an independent arbitrator agreed with Kingman and other free agents who were without jobs and awarded MLB players nearly $60 million for lost salaries. Kingman was awarded about $830,000 on his lost-job claim but never returned to the MLB.
Cleveland Cavaliers and Carlos Boozer
Before the DeAndre situation, the NBA’s most notable broken handshake agreement was when Carlos Boozer spurned the Cavs for the Utah Jazz in 2004. After two seasons with Cleveland, the team let Boozer out of his minimum-salary contract and verbally agreed to re-sign him to a $39 million deal. But once Boozer hit free agency, the Jazz swooped in and offered him a $68 million contract that the Cavs couldn’t match financially. Boozer took the Jazz offer and to this day denies that there was ever a verbal agreement.
Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers
These two met in the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals and there was nearly as much action off the ice as there was on it. On a day between games the Canadiens were practicing and some Rangers’ coaches decided to show up and watch their opponents’ practice. When the Canadiens’ head coach caught wind he justifiably booted the Rangers’ staff from his team’s practice. He followed up with the comment:
“There’s always a gentlemen’s agreement between two teams and general managers that your coaches are not allowed to attend practices between games; game day’s different. So when we saw those assistant coaches there, they were not supposed to be there, so we let them know.”
The Rangers said if they had been aware of such an agreement, they would have honored it and they did end up getting the last laugh as they won the series 4-2.
Miami Marlins, Mark Buehrle, and Jose Reyes
In 2012 the Florida Marlins became the Miami Marlins and acquired a bunch of big-name free agents such as Buehrle and Reyes. The organization refused to give out no-trade clauses in contracts but there were reportedly agreements between the team and its free agent acquisitions that they wouldn’t be traded and were in the team’s long-term plans. Those ‘agreements’ apparently had a one-year expiration date as both Buehrle and Reyes, among others, were traded just one year into their deals. Those moves ‘ticked off’ the Marlins’ 22-year-old future superstar Giancarlo Stanton and, as a result, the team finally relented on their no-trade clause stance and put one in the recent $325 million contract that Stanton signed.