Kevin Garnett's six-year, $126 million contract with the Timber-wolves, signed in October 1997, so drastically changed the NBA's financial landscape that owners orchestrated the first work stoppage in league history. They got what they wanted from last year's lockout: a collective bargaining agreement capping salaries. In hindsight Garnett's decision to re-sign rather than wait for a new CBA was a masterstroke: While others from his '95 rookie class who signed last year maxed out at $70 million over six years, he got $56 million more.
The man who negotiated that deal was agent Eric Fleisher, who delighted in knowing that his star client would be the best-paid player in the league for years. So imagine his surprise when the 6'11", two-time All-Star forward fired him in July. "I was blindsided, absolutely shocked," says Fleisher. "I did more for Kevin man was humanly possible."
Garnett declined to comment on the split, but sources close to him say he may have seen Fleisher as "too controlling." Fleisher blames his former prot�g� Andy Miller, who left him in July for another agency, W Sports, and whose client list features former Fleisherites Chauncey Billups, Al Harrington and Joe Smith as well as Garnett. "Here's a guy I gave a job to right out of college," Fleisher says, "and for him to do what he did...."
"It was time to move on," says Miller, who spent eight years with Fleisher and says he expects to be sued by him. "I wanted to diversify, and that wasn't going to be possible in the mom-and-pop environment I was in."
Garnett's switch could mean millions for Miller when it's time for a new contract. If Garnett gets the maximum allowed under the new CBA, he'll receive $267 million over seven years. Top agents get 4% commissions. You do the math.