Arn Tellem Rumors
Jabari Young: And of course… A connection: Gerald Henderson’s agent: Arn Tellem…same as Aldridge… #Blazers: 95 more rumors
Tellem will not be directly involved with the Pistons’ basketball side — coach Stan Van Gundy will still have final say over personnel. He will be one of three people who report directly to Gores, along with Van Gundy and CEO Dennis Mannion. And his duties will run the gamut from looking at improvements to the Palace, to improving the team’s footprint in Detroit, to potentially working on the creation of a regional sports network. In switching careers, Tellem is leaving his position at Wasserman Media Group, where he headed the agency’s basketball division, and was considered the most powerful agent in basketball. He represented 42 NBA players — almost 10 percent of all the players in the league, who made more than $324 million this season in salary — and 12 All-Stars.
“I needed a challenge,” Tellem said Sunday afternoon. “I needed a personal challenge. And I need to live with a purpose in my life. To me, this gave me a greater purpose.” And so Tellem, after weeks of anguish and thought — “I’m an emotional basket case right now,” he said — pulled the trigger last week, and accepted Pistons’ owner Tom Gores’ offer to become Vice Chairman of Palace Sports and Entertainment.
Nobody, however, will replace Tellem, per se. “I don’t know that you can fill his shoes,” Myers said. “I know Casey’s a great leader and they’ve got a great company over there. I don’t know exactly what their strategy is, but I’m sure they’ll be fine. He’s unique, so I don’t know anybody who replaces him in that capacity, but they’ve got a good infrastructure and they’ll figure it out. They were fine without me.”
“The primary part of his job’s gonna be in doing things for the financial welfare of the organization and expanding business and again, that all comes down to negotiating things, too, whether it’s TV contract or whatever,” Van Gundy said. “I think you’ve got a guy who understands the business of sports – particularly our league – so that has to have great value to us.”
Tellem will be charged with big picture issues – negotiating future TV contracts, assisting PS&E and Pistons owner Tom Gores in exploring ways to grow business interests in the area and other responsibilities. But Tellem brings more than 30 years of contacts in the NBA and Van Gundy can see a scenario where a former client calls Tellem to get an opinion on the Pistons organization. And Van Gundy will take that help. “I would think they’d have great trust in him,” Van Gundy told the Free Press. “It’s certainly an advantage. There’s no question about that.”
Arn Tellem: While pondering the question “If not now, when?” I realized that now was the time to pass the baton to the next generation of agents. I know that our clients will continue to be well served at WMG. To ensure a seamless transition, I intend to stay at Wasserman for the next two months.
Arn Tellem: When owner Tom Gores offered me the job, I was at first stunned, and then flattered. Part of me thought, I can’t possibly accept. I’m responsible for helping to guide the careers of scores of pro baseball and basketball players. But I grew pensive when I remembered something a friend once told me: That making a difference in a community gives you a deeper sense of purpose. Tom was offering me a chance to join him in making a difference in Detroit and its surrounding neighborhoods. I thought, ‘I’m 61. If not now, when?’
Arn Tellem: Ten years ago Steve Jobs gave a commencement address in which he advised young graduates to continually ask themselves: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” Whenever the answer is “no” for too many days in a row, he counseled them to summon the courage to follow their hearts and intuition. Those thoughts have stuck with me ever since. This week, after 34 years as a player agent, I tendered my resignation to the Wasserman Management Group in Los Angeles and accepted an offer to, later this summer, become vice chairman of Palace Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Detroit Pistons. This decision to change careers has been the most difficult of my professional life.
“The decision to change careers was in one sense a difficult one, because I am leaving a terrific job with great clients and an outstanding leader in Casey Wasserman, who I believe runs the finest sports marketing and talent company in the business,” Tellem said. “But in another sense it was an easy decision, because I am joining another great organization with an outstanding leader in Tom Gores, who is committed to ensuring Palace Sports & Entertainment is a championship organization both on the court and in the community.”
Tellem, 61, will report directly to PS&E and Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores and will be expected to spearhead Palace business strategies as the ownership group enters its fifth year. “Arn is one of the most accomplished and respected sports executives in the world,” Gores said. “He has great passion, integrity and honesty, and he shares my belief that sports can be a catalyst for change in the community. He is an outstanding addition to our leadership team who will help us make a real difference in Detroit.”
Tellem’s business savvy and stature within the NBA community is expected to be immensely impactful to the Pistons. Tellem’s deal with Gores could include an ownership stake, sources said.
Wasserman Media Group’s Arn Tellem, one of the most powerful and prominent player agents in the history of the NBA, is finalizing an agreement to become vice chairman of Palace Sports and Entertainment, the company that owns the Detroit Pistons, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
According to Free Press’ sources, Tellem will be one of the Pistons’ representatives to the NBA’s board of governors, along with Platinum Equity partners Robert Wentworth and Phil Norment.
Overheard in a somber locker room was one player, Robin Lopez, talking in a hush with agent Arn Tellem about his summer plans which includes some weddings and a trip to Budapest and Prague. In another corner, Nic Batum sat by himself and stared off, so frozen in thought that I asked him if he was alright. Batum nodded.
So what would be the biggest benefit from my proposal? In my opinion, cap management should be independent of player development. Let’s say an NBA team could spend up to $2 million a year on D-League player pay (not counting the salaries of first-rounders); if that number didn’t count against the actual cap, the team would be more likely to take chances with development. Right now, the 18 current D-League franchises are said to be worth around $5 million each. If the NBA created 12 more teams, each parent franchise could have its own affiliate.
From a player agent’s perspective, Europe offers a bigger immediate payoff. Normally, agents don’t take commissions on D-League contracts and charge second-rounders 2 percent. In the European leagues, the standard 10 percent cut is generally split between the American and European agents. But the best agents help their clients get better in the hope that the improvement will result in a long-term NBA career. If your client is rewarded, you will be, too. To be one of the 60 annual draftees should be an honor, not a burden. Yet it can be downright traumatic for a prospect to get selected late in the final round and then realize his new “team” has no intention of giving him a guarantee (and that he likely must play professionally out of the country). It’s in both the player’s and the league’s interests for him to mature on his own home turf.
Arn Tellem With the business booming by all accounts, why would the NBA continue to ignore its own development league? It’s not like the league lacks innovative leadership right now. Commissioner Adam Silver and Players Association executive director Michele Roberts have proven to be progressive thinkers who are open to new ideas. They know the world of college sports has been upended by litigation — not just Ed O’Bannon’s antitrust suit against the NCAA, but the Northwestern University athlete unionization case as well. If the amateur landscape is being reshaped, then why wait to follow the NCAA’s lead? The NBA should act preemptively in what, down the line, will be in its own best interests. The NCAA would then be obliged to adapt some of its more draconian rules to the 21st-century game, making the system more balanced and player-friendly. At the moment, the NBA is abetting the NCAA. It should be the other way around.
Wasserman Media Group of the powerful agent Arn Tellem represents Mario Hezonja since last July. Wasserman represents the Croatian star both in the NBA and Europe. Barcelona’s guard is considered as a top-10 pick in 2015 draft and he has showed flashes of great talent.
Most potential draft entries are still in the meat of the decision-making process when it comes to agents—and those decisions will firm up in the next month or so. Tellem is also in line to represent Mario Hezonja, the 19-year-old Croatian wing who could be a lottery pick.
Of course, no one has made decisions on entering the draft or staying in school just yet, but among sources, word is that Okafor, if (and most likely when) he chooses to go the NBA route, could follow Parker in another way: By signing on with the Wasserman Group and heavyweight agent Arn Tellem.
Darren Wolfson: Told #Twolves have a good relationship with Tellem. Early bet has Bjelica here next year. Still will be fun to monitor. Nice chip, surely.
Arn Tellem now representing Green, a Warriors second-round draft pick in 2012 who grew to become one of the most valuable members of their rotation, could help the team retain him. “So if Arn says, ‘Hey, I got this much money (from another offer),’ he’s not going to lie to me, so there’s value in that,” Myers told 95.7 The Game on Wednesday. “And here’s the other thing I do know. If it’s a tie, we’ll win. Not only just because he’s restricted, but Arn, we’ve known other a long time, so he’s not going to hurt us. If he can help, that’s great.”