BRIAN TAYLOR: NUGGET IN MONEY FIGHT, Team Broke Contract, He’s Free Agent

Brian Taylor Basketball Collage
The Denver Post
The Denver Post

THE DENVER POST, Tues., Jan. 17, 1978, SPORTS Page 25 SECTION D

Taylor Says He’s Free Agent Broke Contract 


Denver Post Sports Writer 

Guard Brian Taylor says the Denver Nuggets have defaulted on an addendum to his basketball contract and has’ declared himself a free agent, according to the Associated Press… 

Brian Taylor Basketball Collage
Brian Taylor Basketball Collage

Taylor, acquired from the Kansas City Kings in a preseason trade, said the Nuggets made the first payment of $50,000 due him on time. He said they were 19 days late on the second payment before making a partial payment. The third payment, which was due Jan. 1, has not been met, according to Taylor. 

“I gave them 15 days to make good on the payment and when they didn’t I chose the course of action that I felt would be best for me,” he said. 

“I felt it was the type of decision I really didn’t want to make. However, I’m convinced that basketball has become more of a business, so I have to look out for my interests. I opted to become a free agent because there are several things in writing in my contract which, haven’t been fulfilled. 

“WHAT THIS DECISION boils down to is that I was promised that certain payments would be made to me at specific times. I feel that I have been tricked because I haven’t received these payments. 

“It’s not like Denver made no promises to me at all. They did, but they didn’t keep them. 

“I don’t want to have to rely on someone else to make decisions for me in my life. It’s my life and I want to make the decisions.”

TAYLOR, who was a member of the American Basketball Association champion New York Nets before playing with Kansas City in his first National Basketball Association season, says he expects NBA Commissioner Lawrence O’Brien to intervene in the case.

There will have to be a hearing because of the nature of my contract Taylor said, “But I have everything in writing, so there’s no question in my mind that I’m a free agent. But we’ll have to take everything step by step.

Taylor’s agent, Abdul Jalil, said in NewYork that Taylor becomes a free agent immediately should the Nuggets deviate from any portion of the agreement. Jalil said the agreement is unique in that it contains a clause providing that should he sign with another NBA team, Denver, may not receive compensation, in the form of players, or draft choices. The compensation must be in the form of cash, half of which goes to Taylor and half to the Nuggets. 

This clause reportedly is unprecedented in major league sports player contracts. 

“The first time we let them off,” Jalil said of Taylor’s problem with the Nuggets. “But not this time.” 

TAYLOR, A PRINCETON star in his collegiate days, played four years with the Nets and one with the Kings. He averaged 14.7 points per game in his first five pro seasons, He is averaging 11.6 with Nuggets. 

Jalil said Taylor has not talked to any other NBA teams as yet and expects O’Brien to call a hearing on the case because the contract clause is so unique. 

Jalil is the agent who represented baseball infielder Junior Moore, who won free agency from the Atlanta Braves in a landmark contract agreement following the 1977 season. Moore’s contract permitted him to declare himself a free agent based on his own value judgment of the amount of playing time he had with the Braves. Used as only a part-time performer, Moore chose to leave Atlanta and signed with the Chicago White Sox. 

The Oakland Tribune
The Oakland Tribune

Oakland Tribune, September 1979

He rides NBA’s rich carousel 

by Ralph Wiley 

He came back silently. At 27 years of age, he had spent the last year haunting the Bay Area play grounds keeping his band in with rigorous street ball. But Brian Taylor was no stumbling derelict of the real city game. 

Who was Brian Taylor? The best 6-foot-2 defensive guard in the NBA before he disappeared from Denver into seclusion in Foster City 13 months ago. 

Brian Taylor, the Princeton lad was an ABA championship player, a sniping, whisking bumblebee of a guard who averaged 17 points, grabbed 238 rebounds, and lifted 199 steals in his last full season in the NBA, 1976-77. 

Who is Brian Taylor? An example of what can happen when greedy owners in professional sports start throwing cash around like compliments 

Brian Taylor believes that wages and profits are in direct relationship to coe’s ability to compete in a free market. 

In short, Brian Taylor is a capitalist caveat emptor in its classic hardened form. 

After 13 months of bring lusted after by as many as 15 NBA teams, after megabuck negotiations with everyone from 76er owner R. Fitz Dixon to the Lakers Jack Kent Cooke, Brian Taylor has returned And he did not come or go cheaply. 

The San Diego Clippers signed Brian on Feb 15 for $150,000 for the remaining regular season games and the playoffs” said Taylor’s agent Abdul Jalil. Clipper playoff hopes are enhanced for it. Although Taylor has played only briefly so far. 

Taylor will become a free agent once again at the end of this season, continuing a cycle that saw him leave Denver in a contract dispute in the middle of last season. 

The Nuggets will receive compensation from San Diego for Taylor. Two prior deals fell through. Philadelphia was set to compensate with Steve Mix and a No 1 draft pick, but Taylor vetoed. 

Jack Kent Cooke and Taylor came to financial terms-a four year, $1.7 million deal but Denver asked for Jamaal Wilkes and Adrian Dantley as compensation to discourage the Lakers. 

Brain Taylor declares he's Free Agent, Nugget's broke contract
Brain Taylor declares he’s Free Agent, Nugget’s broke contract

“I’m only 27 years old I wasn’t worried about leaving my game on the playgrounds,” said Taylor from San Diego. 

“I played in San Francisco and Oakland with a bunch of guys that played every day and did nothing else.

Denver could have been an ideal situation,” he said. “But there was a very real problem with Carl Scheer, Nugget general manager. He made promises he didn’t keep.” 

When asked for his side of the story. Scheer said. “It’s a long story that’s a year in the making.” 

“Brian didn’t feel we had lived up to our end of his contract which had four years to run. But we will get compensation. We’d like a No. 1 draft choice, but unfortunately San Diego doesn’t have one for a couple of years” 

“Scheer is too embarrassed to talk about Brian,” said Jalil. 

It is a fact that the Nuggets declined to have tapes of the Taylor negotiating sessions heard by the federal arbitrator, who agreed Taylor was free, but that the Nuggets were due compensation. 

Nothing really allowed Brian to leave said Denver publicity man Tom Hohensee. 

Taylor had a clause that stipulated be could become a free agent if the Nuggets breeched his contract. They did, according to Jalil, defaulting by 13 days on part of a $250.000 interest free loan. 

“I talked with Al Attles, but that was before they got John (Lucas). I still was waiting on them after that and they needed a third guard but after they got Jo Jo, I knew they weren’t interested”  Taylor said, claiming he had no fear of being forgotten by NBA clubs. 

Jalil said “by bringing in Brian Taylor the Warriors would have been admitting that John Lucas was a mistake. They admitted that any way when they brought in Jo Jo White.” 

“They didn’t have enough money to sign Brian. You put Jo Jo’s and Lucas salary together and it might make Brian’s now. They could get two for one, so I can’t fault them for that.” 

Golden State did steer clear. 

“Al had lunch with Brian and a third party, but he was asking more than we could handle,” said Warrior exec Scotty Stirling. “You know Randy Smith is in the last year of his contract with San Diego. They could be trying to protect themselves’.” 

“We saw we could get Jo Jo, and he was playing every day. Besides, we didn’t know about Brian. He was working out, but the streets aren’t the NBA.”

*Back to San Diego Clipper guard Lloyd Free is threatening to jump the club after learning that San Diego shelled out $13 million over three years to sign from agent guard Brian Taylor. 

Meanwhile, word of Taylor’s huge new salary brought an immediate reaction from Free. The high-scoring Free has threatened to jump the team for paying him only $115,000 a year. Freeman Williams, another Clipper guard, is believed to earn $150,000 .

“I don’t see how they can pay Taylor that much” another Clipper said “Look at Lloyd and Freeman. They’re both better than Taylor so how can he get that when the others don’t”. 


Basketball courts at Washington Park where Brian Taylor played growing up Renovated and Dedicated to Him, Given “KEY to the City”!

Brian Taylor was a high school All American in football and basketball, in 1968 led the Perth Amboy High School Boys Basketball team to a New Jersey State Championship by scoring 84 points. The 6’2″ guard played College basketball for Princeton University where he played on many USA All-Star Teams, and after his junior year in 1972, he was selected by the Seattle SuperSonics in the second round of the 1972 NBA draft, however Taylor signed a professional basketball contract with the New York/Jersey Nets and became the American Basketball Association Rookie of the Year during the 1972-73 season. Taylor played four seasons with the Nets, was elected to two All Star teams and won two ABA championships as the Nets won the final ABA championship game in 1976. Taylor joined the Kansas City Kings in 1976, where he averaged 17 points in his initial season and was named to the NBA All Defensive Team. Taylor also played for the Denver Nuggets and the San Diego Clippers, before a torn achilles tendon forced his retirement in 1982. Known as the “BT EXPRESS”, he still has the NBA record as the GREATEST 3 Point Career Shooting from 1981-86.

Brian Taylor NBA Career Leader in Three Pointers 1981-86
Brian Taylor NBA Career Leader in Three Pointers 1981-86
Brian Taylor Court Dedication
Brian Taylor Court Dedication

“The National Basketball Association (Denver Nuggets) vs. The National Basketball Players Association (Brian Taylor)”

In a Historical, Unprecedented case in Professional Basketball, Abdul-Jalil and Superstar Management, along with Taylor, negotiated an addendum to the NBA contract that led to a dispute of the contract that was originally negotiated by the players union director Larry Fliesher. The inherent problems that this situation provided for the National Basketball Association, the Denver Nuggets, and most importantly the Director of the NBA Players Union and the Union itself, were insurmountable.

In mid-season the team breached the contract with a late payment that triggered a clause in the addendum that allowed Taylor to opt out of the contract. Taylor withheld his services in the middle of the season and the team filed for arbitration. In prevailing in this matter Taylor received his FULL PAY, an interest free loan, was declared free of his contract (“a Free Agent”), and allowed to negotiate a new contract with the team of his choice. Cite Arbitration Decision in the matter of “The National Basketball Association (Denver Nuggets) vs. The National Basketball Players Association (Brian Taylor)”, Jan. 25, 1978.

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