The Miami Heat won the NBA title in 2006 thanks to some hard work, determination, and a bit of luck. Shaquille O’Neal changed the team’s fate when he came on board, but two years earlier, things could have gone differently if not for a botched deal for seldom-used Anthony Carter by a prolific player agent named Bill Duffy.
Botched Anthony Carter deal
Carter had a $4.2 million player option on his deal. But somehow, his agent failed to meet the deadline to inform the Heat Carter will be picking up that option. The following free agency period, he joined the San Antonio Spurs on a 2-year, $1.2 million deal, a far cry from the $4.2 million contract he was set to receive with the Miami Heat extension.
The $3 million difference should have created irreparable damage between the two, but surprisingly, there was little to no tension. However, the unfortunate event brought some unexpected good news to the Heat: they had the necessary cap space to sign Lamar Odom - who they later traded for Shaquille O'Neal.
It’s safe to say without the clerical error, things would have ended differently. But was it just an honest mistake, or were there some clever maneuverings behind the scenes?
Did Bill Duffy intentionally commit the mistake?
Duffy was no rookie player agent. His prized clients include Yao Ming, Steve Nash, Luka Doncic, Joakim Noah, Rajon Rondo, Nikola Vucevic, Sabrina Ionescu, and Deandre Ayton. People make mistakes, but Bill wouldn’t risk the name he built through the years going down the drain by making an honest mistake. It was reported he eventually paid Carter the $3 million he lost. When asked about the incident, Anthony just claimed that things happened. Without any tinge of anger or sadness on his part. Like it was just a business transaction.
A lot of people speculated the mistake was too convenient to had been an accident. One of the best agents in basketball isn't likely to make such a terrible mistake. The Heat were able to dump Carter’s contract and signed what eventually turned out to be a final piece of a championship puzzle, while Anthony received his deal with the Spurs and got paid what the Heat owed him.
Was it planned, or did the Heat pay Bill Duffy to forget to send the NBA a fax about his player’s contract? Nobody would ever know. But if anything, it worked out for all those involved.