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Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Agent: Hornets rescind offer to Head

ESPN.com news services

NEW ORLEANS -- The agent for Luther Head said Wednesday that his client is healthy and that the New Orleans Hornets have not offered a reasonable explanation for why they rescinded a two-year contract offer for the veteran guard.

Mark Bartelstein said the Hornets informed him not long after general manager Jeff Bower had stepped down on Tuesday that Head, who played for the Indiana Pacers last season, had failed a physical.

"That's absurd," Bartelstein told The Associated Press by phone Wednesday night. "There's nothing wrong with Luther Head. Nothing. They're doing tremendous damage to a player by putting out there that there's something physically wrong with him when there's nothing wrong with him. ... I spoke to the Pacers' medical staff this morning. They said he passed his end-of-the-season physical with flying colors and there should be absolutely no issues."

The Hornets have not formally acknowledged that there was ever a deal with Head, but Bartelstein said on Saturday that Head had a two-year deal with New Orleans worth about $2.5 million, with a player's option for the second season.

"Jeff Bower got fired yesterday. This is a deal I made with Jeff Bower on Saturday. Then suddenly, hours after Jeff Bower was fired, I was told they were going to rescind the contract on Luther," Bartelstein said. "So I would ask anyone to connect the dots."

Although it was not immediately clear what sort of recourse Head could pursue without a signed contract, Bartelstein told ESPN.com in a phone interview that he would "explore every avenue possible" with the league and National Basketball Players Association to determine if the deal can be enforced.

Bartelstein said Hornets team president Hugh Weber did not seem at all interested in renegotiating, as clubs often do when there is genuine disagreement over the results of a physical.

"I've been doing this 25 years. I've never had a situation like this ever happen," Bartelstein said. "All you can do is pay attention to people's actions and draw your own conclusions.

"This is a business that is supposed to be based upon trust and handshakes and being able to make deals where you trust people's intentions," Bartelstein continued. "I made a deal with Jeff Bower. If a team had an issue with a physical, you would never ever get a phone call saying, 'The deal's been rescinded. We're moving on.' The team would call you and say, 'Hey, we've got something we're concerned about in the physical. Let's figure out a way to work around it. Let's deal with it.' Maybe you put an exception to a particular injury [in the contract]. You would discuss it. You wouldn't just flat-out rescind the contract and say, 'That's it, we're moving on,' with no communication unless your intentions are something else."

Hornets spokesman Harold Kaufman said the club would not respond to Bartelstein's comments at this time.

Bartelstein has represented a number of well-known NBA and NFL players, including former Hornets forward P.J. Brown, Pacers star Danny Granger, recently retired NFL quarterback Kurt Warner and Cleveland Browns quarterback Jake Delhomme.

The 6-foot-3 Head is entering his sixth NBA season. Following stints with Houston and Miami, Head averaged 7.6 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 47 games with the Pacers last season.

Bartelstein said the Hornets told him their doctors were concerned about the condition of one of Head's ankles, based on what they saw in an MRI.

"It's extremely unsettling and it's disappointing for Luther," Bartelstein said. "Here's a young man who's trying to build a career and suddenly he's tagged with failing a physical when in fact he's playing basketball every single day. There's absolutely nothing wrong with him. The fact of the matter is, there's not a player in the NBA who couldn't be failed on a physical if a team wanted to fail the player."

Information from ESPN.com's Marc Stein and The Associated Press was used in this report.