Anthony Carter had a poor ’02/’03 season – 4.1 points (on .351 shooting) and 4.1 assists per game. But his NBA days were not numbered. Carter had a $4 million player option with the Miami Heat and another season to pick up his game before becoming a free agent. Then his agent made one of the biggest mistakes an agent ever made.
For a player to exercise his option, his agent has to formally inform the team that the player is exercising the option. Carter’s agent, Bill Duffy, never did that. Once the June 30th deadline passed without a word from Duffy’s office, the Heat were officially off the hook. That has to be the most embarrassing phone call Duffy ever had to make.
Duffy owned up to his mistake and made a deal with Carter to pay the $4 million back in installments. That’s why Carter, who retired in 2012, was still getting NBA checks until this year.
“In the end, it was a blessing. I’m still getting paid from it. Everything happens for a reason, and my agent was man enough to stand up and just pay me over a period of time. To this day, I’m still getting paid. I’m still getting paid until 2020.”Anthony Carter in 2016, Yahoo Sports
If you do the math, that’s about $241,176 per year – nothing to sneeze at. Carter went on to play for nine more years and went into coaching after his playing days were over. He is currently a player development coach with the Miami Heat.
$4 million may not sound a lot, but in 2003 the salary cap was set at 43 million – that was roughly 10% of the salary cap. In today’s terms, from a team-building perspective, that would be around $12 million. Duffy’s mistake was very convenient for the Heat – a bit too convenient, many say.
The additional cap room enabled the Heat to sign Lamar Odom to a 6-year $65 million deal. A year later, he was the centerpiece in a trade for Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq joined Dwyane Wade, and the rest is history.
Without Duffy’s mistake, who knows if the Heat would have the assets to get Shaq. They don’t call Pat Riley The Godfather for no reason.