Agents often don't bother to seek the clause, because they know they're likely to be rebuffed. But that may change in light of Sprewell's termination. Some agents fear that the language of Sec. 16 may allow teams to dismiss players for far smaller offenses. "I think if the [personal-conduct] rule stays the way it is now, guys are going to have to start demanding to have the guarantee written in," says agent Steven Kauffman. Counters Walsh, who has granted the guarantee once in his 11 years with the Pacers, "If agents start demanding it, I think there'll be a lot of unsigned contracts."
Lars Gunnar Karlstrand, a 24-year-old striker for the Vastra Frolunda soccer team in Sweden, recently turned down a far more lucrative offer from St. Johnstone of Scotland for what he called "family reasons." Under Britain's quarantine laws, Karl-strand would have been separated from his Rottweiler, Ted, for six months. "I won't leave Sweden without Ted," he said. "The dog is the closest thing in the world to me."