Mark Termini Rumors
Most agents and business associates of key Cavaliers players are on full alert to keep clients out of the tentacles of Klutch. The Klutch sales pitch has been predictable: Come with us, get paid with the Cavaliers. As much as anything, James has set up Rich Paul with a sweet gig: Paul doesn’t negotiate the contracts for clients, nor does he do the marketing for LeBron James. Those jobs belong to Mark Termini and the Fenway Sports Group, respectively. Nevertheless, Paul is the personable frontman, the secondary recruiter behind James himself.
The Suns offered Bledsoe a four-year, $48 million contract in July, but Bledsoe’s representatives insist that the guard’s value is a full maximum contract. There’s been minimal communication between Bledsoe’s representatives and Suns officials since the franchise’s offer in July. Bledsoe’s representatives with Klutch Sports, Rich Paul and Mark Termini, were unable to find a consequential offer sheet to force the Suns into matching a deal. Timberwolves president and coach Flip Saunders has been represented by Termini for much of his coaching career.
Termini will continue to run his agency and represent Nuggets center Kosta Koufos and several players overseas. His existing clients will not become part of Klutch Sports. The two companies will remain separate entities.
Paul, a graduate of Benedictine High School, has begun a working relationship with Cleveland agent Mark Termini, who will oversee contract negotiations for Paul’s clients. Termini founded Mark Termini Associates Inc. in 1986 and has negotiated more than $400 million in pro sports salaries. He has represented 15 first-round picks in the NBA and served on the Agent Advisory Committee to the National Basketball Players Association for the 1993, 1997 and 2003 NBA collective bargaining negotiations.
USA TODAY Sports has learned that Termini, who represents Denver Nuggets center Kosta Koufos and a few others, will continue to run his agency, Mark Termini Associates. His existing clients will not become part of Klutch Sports, and he can continue to build his client list if he chooses, according to one person. Termini adds impeccable credentials to Paul’s upstart firm and is considered a valuable addition.
Klutch Sports, the sports agency founded in September by Rich Paul that includes Miami Heat star LeBron James as a client, has enlisted respected agent Mark Termini to “oversee contract negotiations,” two people familiar with arrangement told USA TODAY Sports. The people requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly until an official announcement is made. ESPN first reported the news.
Whether it’s during the initial recruitment process as a player prepares to enter the NBA or part of a poaching ploy, the willingness of so many agents to, as Termini put it, “do side deals” has made an already-challenging landscape nearly impossible to navigate for those who simply won’t go that route. Veteran agent Bill Strickland said it’s a significant reason why his NBA client list has dwindled in recent years, from a time when he represented “13 or 14 players” to his current lot of two (it was three until Boston’s Rasheed Wallace retired after last season). “(The illegal tactics) are just an unfortunate reality,” said Strickland, who entered the business in 1983. “And the environment is so wrought with this stuff that some people are afraid to throw stones because they’re standing in a glass home. “Right now I represent the fewest number of players that I have in my entire career, but that’s because it has become increasingly difficult to sustain relationships and do it the right way.”
The only law enforcement in this Wild West city is the players’ union, which certainly has regulations in place but has had neither the time nor the resources to enforce them. “This is a business of entrepreneurs and pirates, and an agent decides which one he wants to be,” said Mark Termini, who has been in the business for 25 years, negotiated more than $400 million in guaranteed NBA contracts and represented 15 first-round picks. “And some (agents) are a little of both. … But if you start making deals and cutting deals and doing side deals (with players, their associates or family members), ultimately you get caught up in a game of where they might get you before you get them. There are a number of very successful agents who play that game, and the clients they have lost would fill an All-Star game roster.”
Yet even Termini admits that the current climate is making it harder than ever to remain competitive. “I’ve never paid a player or a person associated with a player — period,” Termini said. “And I can tell you that my career would be impossible to duplicate in the current environment.” Mark Twain, in other words, need not apply. “When I talk to law students, I tell them, ‘You don’t have to be Jerry Maguire to be involved with sports,’ ” Strickland said. “And I don’t think you really want to be at this juncture.'”