Storyline: Agent Changes

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Changing agents is nothing new in the NBA, especially for Jordan, who had employed three different agencies to represent him in contract negotiations in his first seven seasons. When DeAndre Jordan fired Dan Fegan in 2015, whose cozy relationship with Mavs owner Mark Cuban cast a shadow over the initial decision to sign with Dallas, Jordan was required by players association rules to wait 15 days to hire a new one. “He was deciding between Jeff [Schwartz] and Rich Paul,” a person familiar with Jordan’s thinking told Bleacher Report. “I had heard back then that he was 100 percent signing with Jeff.”

It is not yet known what some of Miller’s more high profile clients such as Kyle Lowly, Serge Ibaka and Kristaps Porzingis will do. However, Myles Turner appears to feel comfortable with Miller continuing to represent his interests. “I talk to [Miller] every day. Keeping me updated on everything. Telling me you’re going hear stuff. People are going to want me to go here. People are going to want me to jump ship, but Andy’s my guy, man. I’m not going nowhere,” said Turner.
4 months ago via ESPN

In the wake of the FBI corruption probe that has shaken the college basketball world this week, multiple clients have severed ties with Andy Miller, one of the NBA’s most prominent agents, and another has filed a $13.5 million arbitration claim, alleging he was defrauded, league sources told ESPN. Los Angeles Clippers center Willie Reed filed the claim in part because of Christian Dawkins, one of the 10 people arrested on federal corruption charges on Tuesday. Dawkins was reportedly terminated by Miller and his company, ASM, in early May following a National Basketball Players Association probe into the unauthorized use of a player’s personal credit card.

Wiggins no longer has an agent, not after firing one of the league’s most respected ones, Bill Duffy, after he negotiated a five-year extension in which the Wolves gave Wiggins all they could by NBA rules. Wiggins said Friday he’s not certain if he will hire another agent again. Instead, he has a manager, a lawyer and the experience of his parents, both of whom were professional athletes. “It’s not as hard as you think,” Wiggins said. “Me and Bill, we were good. It was nothing against him at all. It was more about a business point of view from my end. I wish him all the best of luck, I wish his agency the best of luck because they did nothing but good on my side.”

The process has been muddled by Wiggins’ decision to part with agent Bill Duffy and BDA Sports in August. Players change agents all of the time, but the fact that this move came with a megadeal on the verge of agreement made it a little unique. The ensuing confusion pushed negotiations back and Duffy is taking steps to ensure he receives a commission on the deal, given his significant role in shaping it. “Me and Bill, we were good. Nothing against him at all,” Wiggins said. “It was more from a business point of view from my end. They did nothing but good by my side. I’ve got nothing but positive words for them. I’m just taking it day by day.”

Howard is considering suing some of his former associates, but he is not ready to divulge names or make public allegations. He is rehiring Aaron Goodwin, his original agent, because he appreciates Goodwin’s blunt honesty in addition to his deft marketing. Goodwin agreed to return after Deebo downsized his unwieldy circle. The revamped crew includes Justin Zormelo, skills coach to John Wall, and Ed Downs, personal trainer for Chris Bosh. The first time Downs dug his hands into Howard’s hips, the 265 pounder nearly leaped off the massage table. “He was so tight,” Downs says, “so stiff.” Anyone who watched Howard over the past five years has seen what Downs felt. The prescription, instead of more 100-pound dumbbell presses, was band work and deep-tissue massage, with flexibility and balance training.

George Hill, having just completed the final year of a five-year, $40 million deal that he originally signed with the Pacers in 2012, has changed agents prior to becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Hill has hired Matthew Ward, Ward confirmed to VigilantSports.com. This isn’t a new relationship between the two; Ward has served as Hill’s financial advisor for nearly a decade.

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.
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January 15, 2018 | 10:03 pm EST Update
Malone framed MLK Day more as a pressing, ongoing argument than a remembrance. “Especially in the current climate, it’s that much more important,” Malone said as the Nuggets wound down a shootaround at their Pepsi Center practice court. “When you have a president making some of the comments that he has made, it’s so important to remember and honor the legacy of Dr. King and what his message was. Simple, but powerful. Fight for equality, fight for the respect of everybody. White, black, male, female. Doesn’t matter.”
“It’s not a tyrant running the NBA,” Malone said. “We respect our players, and we want them to have a voice. We want them to use their voice, hopefully, in a respectful manner. … Our commissioner (Adam Silver) wants the players, the coaches — everybody who works under the NBA umbrella — to feel together and unified and to embrace everything out there.”