Storyline: Agent Changes

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One of the sports industry’s most respected basketball agents has been fired for cause by his most recent employer and named as a defendant in a lawsuit seeking to enforce a non-compete agreement. Independent Sports & Entertainment (ISE) has filed suit against basketball agent Dan Fegan to prevent him from trying to poach ISE clients, agents and employees now that he is no longer with the company. The Complaint for Injunctive Relief paints a picture of extreme disloyal and unethical actions by Fegan, which ISE claims to have caused immense harm and damage to its operations.

It also alleges that Fegan devised a plot to make it possible for Fegan to take back the business he sold to ISE in 2013 when his employment agreement with ISE was set to expire. “As part of his plan, Fegan set the stage for a potential mass exodus from ISE Basketball: he manipulated the company’s employees and agents to give their personal loyalty to him and interfered with their ability to sign new long-term employment agreements with ISE Basketball so that he could deliver on the threat of a mass exodus,” per the Complaint. In July 2015, Fegan wrote an email to agents and employees of ISE Basketball notifying them that he would leave ISE when his employment term expired in December 2017.

As news broke that the Los Angeles Lakers had not only fired longtime general manager Mitch Kupchak, but also lured power agent Rob Pelinka as his replacement, the ears of player representatives across the country perked up. Pelinka boasts an impressive list of clients—ranging from James Harden to Buddy Hield—and will have to divest his ownership stake in his agency, Landmark Sports, which has sparked a vast number of phone calls from rival agents. “It will be like the wild, wild west,” one rival agent told The Crossover. “It’s like a real life Jerry Maguire,” said another.

A league source also said Pelinka will still collect his allotted fees for the remainder of each player contract he has negotiated. For all player contracts above the minimum salary, agents who negotiate deals are due 4% of the player’s annual salary. For example, through James Harden’s $118 million extension with the Houston Rockets alone, Pelinka will earn $4.72 million through 2020, while also commanding an assured multi-million dollar annual salary from Los Angeles. DraftExpress lists the current and future known guaranteed salary for Pelinka’s primary clients at a staggering $363,740,424, equating to over $14.5 million for his services.

Josh Ketroser, agent to Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, has left Wasserman. Ketroser confirmed he had left the agency but did not have any other comment. Ketroser is the latest agent to leave the basketball practice since Arn Tellem left in June 2015 to become vice chairman of Palace Sports & Entertainment, owner of the Detroit Pistons. The others include Tellem’s son, Michael Tellem, who now works at CAA Sports; James Dunleavy, who now works at Independent Sports & Entertainment; and Jason Glushon, who formed his own agency.

Kwame Brown trying to return to the NBA

Interperformances is proud to announce that the NBA star Kwame Brown decided to sign with our agency. The #1 overall pick of the 2001 draft is ready for a new life. His comeback can be the road to glory for a team that believes in him. Kwame is back, physically healthy and ready to be the outstanding player he was on several NBA teams. A great intimidator that can block shots , rebound consistently and explode in devastating dunks. No longer the young man that entered the NBA, Kwame is now an experienced and mature player and man. And he’s back, for the love of the game.

Billionaire Ron Burkle is starting an athlete management and sports-related investment company that’ll be led by former Madison Square Garden Co. Chief Executive Officer Hank Ratner. The company, Independent Sports and Entertainment, essentially replaces Relativity Sports, in which Burkle was an investor. The new firm has retained several top agents and their clients from the L.A.-based sports agency, which is closing. ISE begins with more than 300 Major League Baseball, National Football League and National Basketball Association players under management, including baseball’s two-time MVP Miguel Cabrera, basketball’s DeMarcus Cousins and football’s Larry Fitzgerald.

When Dwight Howard made the decision to follow in Shaquille O’Neal’s footsteps yet again by choosing recently to sign with his agent, Perry Rogers, the Houston Rockets center paid little mind to the possibility that criticism might follow. If nothing else, his most vocal detractor — that being the TNT analyst in O’Neal who has spent years ridiculing Howard — wasn’t about to criticize him for the move. After all, O’Neal encouraged the idea. “(O’Neal) reached out to me (weeks ago) and felt like this could be something that could really help me in my future,” Howard, who — like O’Neal — played for the Orlando Magic and the Los Angeles Lakers, told USA TODAY Sports on Thursday. “We talked, more so about basketball. And then we started talking about agents and all that stuff.

O’Neal, a longtime public nemesis of Howard’s, had extensive conversations with the Houston center and sold him on the marketing of “Superman” and the representation of Rogers, sources said. The potential of marketing Howard and O’Neal in advertisements together played a role, too, sources said. Howard and O’Neal progressed in the NBA with the same moniker of “Superman” – for which Shaq has publicly mocked Howard – and they both left the Orlando Magic for the Los Angeles Lakers in the middle of their careers.

Sam Amick: Rockets big man Dwight Howard has parted ways w/ agent Dan Fegan. He issued this statement to @USATODAYsports: “As I continue to embark on my NBA journey, I have decided to sever my relationship with Dan Fegan and Relativity Sports. I have the utmost respect for Dan, but this is the right decision for me. My sole focus remains working with my teammates to position the Rockets for a pursuit of a championship. I wish Dan and the team at Relativity all the best in the future.”
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