Marc J. Spears: With grace period over, Wizards G John Wall has officially signed with agent Rich Paul & his Klutch Sports Group, a Paul spokesperson said.
Avery Bradley has changed agents from Mitchell Butler of the Rival Sports Group to Rob Pelinka, who also represents Kobe Bryant. Butler was able to procure the oft-injured Bradley a four-year, $32 million contract extension last summer, considered an above-market deal. Now Bradley is apparently unhappy with his contract, especially after seeing players such as Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton (five years, $70 million), Utah’s Gordon Hayward (four years, $61 million), and Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson (five years, $82 million) cash in with lucrative extensions, making Bradley’s deal appear to be a bargain with the new television money increasing the salary cap this summer.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Yet another player making move to leverage next steps in his career: Boston’s Avery Bradley has hired agent Rob Pelinka of Landmark Sports.
"Just a decision that I made, just thinking about it with my team," Wall said earlier in the week. "The people I was with have been a great partnership the five years I was with them. They did a lot of positive things for me. It was just a situation where I felt me and my team wanted to go in different ways with how I wanted to build my team." Wall wants what LeBron James -- and, a generation before both of them, Gary Payton -- achieved: representation that will empower those closest to him in meaningful positions.
Wall wants that for his closest friends, that grew up with him in Raleigh and have been there with him at every stop along the way, through his troubled childhood, his explosion as a basketball talent in high school, his year at Kentucky and his six seasons in Washington. And he believes Rich Paul -- among this season's worst-kept secrets is that Wall will hire Paul after the 15-day grace period to which players must adhere before hiring a new agent expires -- can do that. "That's the way," Wall said Saturday night, without naming any names. "That's what I want to do."
Wall will soon make his best friend, Ty Williams -- "my brother," Wall says -- his manager. Another friend, Reggie Jackson, is working at a bank in the D.C. area. Eric "E.J." Grissett is a disc jockey at local clubs; Alban (Bane) Okafor is a fledgling entrepreneur just as Rich Paul was all those years ago. And Wall wants his guys to follow that path.
League scuttlebutt has hinted that Wall wants a big, big shoe deal. The discussions Relativity was having with adidas, Wall's former shoe company, were not proceeding to his liking -- especially in the wake of Harden's 13-year, $200 million deal with adidas reached last year. Wall says that's not true. "That wasn't part of the decision why I wanted to make that" (agent) change, Wall said. "It was just something that I've been thinking about for a while. I'm still open to every shoe company. I'm going to talk to all of those guys through the process and figure out what I can do. I still have interest in adidas and all the other companies that want to talk to me and have a meeting. I'm open. I've just been wearing what's comfortable for my feet and protecting my feet for right now."
Jeff Zillgitt: In other NBA/agents news (for those are interested in such things), Thunder C Enes Kanter has left Max Ergul, I've been told.
Liz Mullen: Milwaukee Bucks G Greivis Vásquez has signed with @Octagon NBA agent Alex Saratsis for representation. He was formerly repped by WMG.
He fired his long-time agent Dan Fegan of Relativity Sports and explained his decision to reshape his career Wednesday. "The people I was with, it was a great partnership for the five years I was with it. Did a lot of great and positive things for me but it's just a situation where I felt me and my team wanted to go different ways in how we wanted to build out team," Wall said after morning shootaround before playing the Milwaukee Bucks. "It was a decision I made to part ways with them. ... I think just getting it off my chest was kind of a relief."
Wall has met with various agents, including several times with Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, but hasn't signed with anyone. Paul, a lifelong friend of LeBron James, represents the superstar.
Nick DePaula: In his first game since switching to agent Rich Paul, John Wall is wearing LeBron 13s. (Pic via @Chris Miller) https://t.co/aiqnx8oTQN
Keith Pompey: According to sources, Joel Embiid is expected to sign with Leon Rose
David Aldridge: Just heard briefly from John Wall re: firing Dan Fegan. “Long story,” said Wall, who added he hasn’t signed with anyone else yet. Attorney @DarrenHeitner has reported Wall will sign with Klutch Sports’ Rich Paul, who represents LeBron James, Eric Bledsoe & others.
C.Ford: Ben McLemore only one not wearing Nike. Nick DePaula: Correct -- and Ben McLemore's rookie adidas shoe deal was done before he hired Rich Paul.
Nick DePaula: When John Wall turned pro in 2010, Nike had interest & made him this Hyperfuse PE, but Reebok offer was too strong. https://t.co/OTNtsv7oOo
Nick DePaula: Wow. Hearing that John Wall will leave agent Dan Fegan and is leaning towards hiring Rich Paul of Klutch Sports. (LeBron's agent.)
Darren Heitner: Sources: John Wall has fired agent Dan Fegan. Big losses for Relativity Basketball: Ed Davis, Austin Rivers, DeAndre Jordan, John Wall
However, he has since decided to return to Wasserman after his brief stint with BDA Sports Management. “It’s just a personal decision,” said Horford. “I just felt more comfortable being with Wasserman.” The change in his personnel was confirmed by Wasserman’s Twitter yesterday and was first announced by Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Tandem Sports & Entertainment has signed Portland Trail Blazers guard Gerald Henderson and Dallas Mavericks guard Raymond Felton for representation on and off the court.
David 'Dubi' Pick: Source: Crvena Zvezda point-guard Gal Mekel has signed with Euro power-agent Misko Raznatovic.
The person who conducted Glenn Robinson’s negotiations was Dr. Charles Tucker. Now, 21 years later, Tucker will again be representing another high-profile Bucks player: Jabari Parker. Parker was the second overall selection in the 2014 draft and is regarded as one of the game’s up-and-coming stars. “I feel good about my decision,’’ said Parker, who had been represented by the Wasserman Media Group. “When it comes to Dr. Tucker. I have someone who fully supports me and will always be there for me.
But as happens when a powerful agent leaves an agency, there have been talent defections. Since Tellem departed, seven NBA players — LaMarcus Aldridge, Jamal Crawford, Danilo Gallinari, Gerald Henderson, Al Horford, Joe Johnson and Jabari Parker — have left. Two others, Mike Miller and Mike Dunleavy, left while Tellem was still at Wasserman. And two others, brothers Marc and Pau Gasol, remain Wasserman clients but are evaluating options.
“With B.J. Armstrong, Thad Foucher and Darren Matsubara heading our basketball business we are highly confident about our ability to maintain our leadership position,” WMG founder and Chairman Casey Wasserman said. The defections come after Wasserman agents negotiated more than $700 million in NBA contracts over the summer, including Aldridge’s $80 million contract with the Spurs and Gallinari’s two-year, $34 million extension with the Nuggets, before they left. Wasserman agents also negotiated big deals for clients who have stayed, including Davis’ five-year, $145 million deal with the New Orleans Pelicans, Brook Lopez’s three-year, $60 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets and Robin Lopez’s four-year, $54 million deal with the New York Knicks.
Erik Gundersen: Blazers guard Gerald Henderson has signed with agent Jim Tanner after leaving Wasserman, according to a league source.
You told us that there are some mistakes in our piece of article about Wasserman. What are they ? Makhtar N'Diaye (Wasserman agent): James Dunleavey left a long time ago before Arn Tellem. Michael Tellem has left because he didn't like his new job. Indeed, Danilo Gallinari followed him but five or six players have decided to fire him and stay with us.
How much has the loss of Arn Tellem impacted the agency life? Makhtar N'Diaye: Yes, the loss of Arn is huge. It's like a team that loses his franchise player. It's normal that there are some collateral damages. Every player had his own reason to leave us. When Arn left us, some players felt like orphans. Arn did take care himself of Joe Johnson. It's the same thing for Gasol brothers, but we signed the last contract of Marc and we will still be paid for that. If you look deeper, the two losses which hurt us a lot are Jabari Parker because he's young and has a tremendous potential, and Al Horford because his contract is expiring and he is a max contract player.
Chris Haynes: Mavericks G Raymond Felton has signed on with agent Jim Tanner of Tandem Sports and Entertainment. He recently parted ways with Wasserman.
Jabari Parker is leaving the Wasserman Media Group and agent B.J. Armstrong, the 20-year-old Bucks forward confirmed after the team shootaround Friday morning. Parker said he has not yet chosen a new agent but is doing his research. Several other big-name players have left or are reported to be considering leaving the Wasserman group after the departure of super agent Arn Tellem. During the off-season Tellem left the agency to become vice chairman of Palace Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the Detroit Pistons.
David 'Dubi' Pick: Source: Hawks star Al Horford, Blazers guard Gerald Henderson leaving agent B.J. Armstrong.
David 'Dubi' Pick: Source: Blazers guard Gerald Henderson is leaving Wasserman Media Group, agent B.J. Armstrong.
Bobby Marks: Gasol brothers join Jabari Parker, Al Horford, LaMarcus Aldridge, Joe Johnson and Danilo Gallinari as key losses. RT: Jeff Zillgitt: In related note, Marc & Pau Gasol also looking for new agents following Arn Tellem's departure from WMG to Pistons.
Jeff Zillgitt: In related note, Marc & Pau Gasol also looking for new agents following Arn Tellem's departure from WMG to Pistons. twitter.com/cf_gardner/sta…
David 'Dubi' Pick: Source: Nuggets star Danilo Gallinari, agent Michael Tellem - son of Arn Tellem - left Wasserman for CAA.
Sam Amick: Tidbit from agent ranks: Blazers big man Ed Davis is now represented by Paolo Zamorano of IT Sports Management. Was previously w/ Relativity
Liz Mullen: Breaking: Happy Walters has left Relativity Sports. The sports agency will conduct a search for a new CEO. More in today's Closing Bell.
Liz Mullen: Happy Walters announced today he is leaving Relativity Sports to form a new sports and media company. More in Closing Bell
Third-year swingman Shabazz Muhammad walked out after practice today with agent Rob Pelinka, who also reps Jones. Muhammad apparently switched agents over the summer, from Bill Duffy (who has Wiggins and LaVine among many, many others) to Pelinka.
Ric Bucher: If [Jeff] Weschler, as sources indicate, does takes [Harrison] Barnes to court, then the Players Union and its new head, Michele Roberts, is going to have to weigh in and basically pick a side between Barnes and Weschler. Why is that a problem? Well, in the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations it's going to be vital for the players, not for them just to be connected, but to have their agents on board on what are they doing as well.
Zach Lowe: Interesting twist in Harrison Barnes switching agents: sources say he pushed back on standard 4% commission agents get on new contracts.
The offer of $16 million per year annually – comparable to teammate Draymond Green's five-year, $82.5 million extension this summer – had been negotiated by Barnes' former agent, Jeff Wechsler. After that initial offer, Wechsler countered with a figure north of $16 million annually before he and Barnes parted ways, league sources said. Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports is representing Barnes now.
Marc J. Spears: Warriors forward Harrison Barnes has changed representation and signed with agent Jeff Schwartz, a source said.
Chris Haynes: Warriors F Harrison Barnes has parted ways with agent Jeff Wechsler, I'm told. Barnes is up for an extension.
Nets Daily: Joe Johnson has changed agents, league sources tell NetDaily. Long repped by Arn Tellem, he's now a client of Jeff Schwartz of Excel.
The journey Jordan Clarkson experienced as an emerging rookie briefly veered from his basketball development toward business. Excel Sports Management and Clarkson parted ways last month, according to league sources familiar with the situation. Though Excel Sports Management cut ties with Clarkson, the Lakers rookie guard also felt frustrated with the agency’s communication and conflicting information about marketing opportunities, according to a league source familiar with his thinking. Clarkson had worked with agents Mike George and Jeff Schwartz.
Despite the terminated relationship, Clarkson has to pay Excel Sports an undisclosed percentage of money despite leaving, according to a league familiar with the terms.
Jon Krawczynski: AP sources say Excel Sports Management severed ties with Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson last month.
Brad Turner: Can confirm that Clippers guard Austin Rivers has joined agent Andy Miller, as @Liz Mullen first reported.
Brad Turner: Clippers center DeAndre Jordan has parted ways with his representatives from Relativity Sports, per source.
David Pick: Source: LaMarcus Aldridge has left Wasserman Media Group. Told he is joining Excel Sports.
David 'Dubi' Pick: Source: LaMarcus Aldridge has left Wasserman Media Group. Told he is joining Excel Sports.
March 22, 2023 | 9:21 pm EDT Update
Walt “Clyde” Frazier said he’d been “meandering” all day on Wednesday, one day after the loss of his longtime friend, captain and championship teammate, Willis Reed. “It took me so long to get dressed today,” the famously fashionable Frazier said softly before working Wednesday’s game between the Knicks and the Heat as the longtime analyst for MSG Networks. “It’s been devastating. After seeing him on the video for the 50th anniversary, I didn’t know he was that far gone. Everybody was really surprised.”
Law Murray: Clippers injury report for Thursday night: – Paul George (right knee) out – Norman Powell (left shoulder) out – Brandon Boston Jr. (tailbone) out – Jason Preston (G-League) out – Moussa Diabaté (2-way) out – Xavier Moon (2-way) out
Damichael Cole: A loud standing ovation for Ja Morant in his return to the floor. pic.twitter.com/0LrY2x5Afb
March 22, 2023 | 8:24 pm EDT Update
Mike Brown on Domantas Sabonis: He's as close to Draymond Green as a big man
Sabonis leads the NBA in rebounding and is dishing a career-high 7 assists per game. Every teammate — even Fox — knows to run the wings when Sabonis grabs a defensive board. “He is as close to Draymond Green as any big man I’ve seen in terms of someone who can get it off the glass, bring it up, and make the right play,” says Brown, who coached Green as an assistant in Golden State for six seasons.
During Sabonis’ rookie year in Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook invited Sabonis to early-morning workouts to go through the nuances of pick-and-roll, says Billy Donovan, who coached that Thunder team. They drilled how to read a defender’s feet, when Sabonis could slip screens, how Sabonis could make himself available for pocket passes. (One of Sabonis’ rookie duties was supplying Westbrook with Snapple for team flights, Sabonis and others on that team recall.) Sabonis was astonished that Fox ceded so much ball handling to him right away, including letting Sabonis rush the ball up after rebounds. “I was really surprised,” Sabonis says. “He has been with the Kings forever. This is his team. He really let me do my thing. Not many franchise point guards would let their big man bring the ball up. He ran with me. He set screens for me. That’s what shocked me most. That’s what made the transition so easy. Neither of us care who is who. We just want to win.”
Sabonis suffered an avulsion fracture in his right thumb and ligament damage in his hand. Fixing it required surgery that would cost between six and eight weeks. The Kings were 17-14, sixth in the West, only a couple games ahead of No. 11. Sabonis wanted to keep playing. “In my mind, sitting out was not an option,” he says. “Six to eight weeks — we can’t risk that.” He asked the team’s medical staff to wait to see if the swelling would subside. It did — enough. He joked that he didn’t use his right hand anyway. After consulting with doctors, trainers, and Sabonis’ agents, the decision was made: He’d play on. The training staff nicknamed him “Wolverine” for his apparent imperviousness to pain.
“He didn’t always understand — this should come from you,” Brown says. “To tape that thumb up and say ‘I’m playing,’ it sets the tone for the whole team. If he and De’Aaron are doing things like that, everyone else falls into line.”
In the weeks before the trade, Thunder officials had talked to Sabonis about playing him more at center — the position he preferred. He pictured himself in Oklahoma City long-term. As free agency approached, Sabonis heard rumors the Thunder might sign Blake Griffin and worried he could end up traded as a result. When news broke that the Clippers had re-signed Griffin, Sabonis was relieved and went to bed to rest up for his summer league game the next day. Minutes later, Thunder officials called to tell him he had been traded. “I was in shock,” he says. “Like, are you joking? I was not so happy.”