Scott Agness: Raptors forward OG Anunoby has switched from Octagon to Klutch Sports for representation, reuniting him with agent Omar Wilkes.
Three years into his NBA career, New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball views this as a pivotal offseason, which began with an important business decision: Ball has signed with agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, the 22-year-old told ESPN. "I wanted to lead my career," Ball told ESPN. "Picking my own representation -- just solely as my decision -- was step one in that process. For me, it was an easy call, and it was the right time to make that call."
Said LaVar Ball, reached over the phone by ESPN: "He's always been his own man. As a father, all I can do is guide him. I'm not going to take a lesser role. I am going to be his father, and that's it."
Older agents can sell players on their experience and a client list and several big contract signings as proof of their work compared to younger agents seeking their first big deal. “For me, I think what’s used against me is that I’m inexperienced, so I don’t really have the experience or the power, which is I think a bunch of b——- at the end of the day,” one agent told HoopsHype. “I don’t think that’s a real thing. I think it comes into play a little bit. Relationships are important, but at the end of the day, I still think talent is really what sets the mark. I mean, me and you could be LeBron James‘ agent, he’s going to get a max contract.”
Usually, the first sense an agent has the relationship with a client is nearing the end is when the player doesn’t return phone calls or text messages. “By the time they get to the phone, you could tell when someone calls you if they have the balls, most of the time they don’t, it’s by text,” one veteran agent told HoopsHype. “You know, it’s really an empty veil. It’s like a breakup by text with a girl you know or divorcing someone by sending them a letter or an email. It’s like thanks for your service, but I decided to move on. Very rarely do you get the reason why.”
While some agents felt their termination was coming, most of the agents expressed shock when terminated. “I talked to an agent once out of New York who said, “S— my guy was toasting me at my wedding, and a week later, I got a FedEx package,” one longtime player rep told HoopsHype. Another agent was preparing to negotiate a deal for his client on July 1. This agent saw the FedEx truck showing up at his cul de sac on June 15th. At that moment, the agent knew without opening the envelope that he’d been fired and would lose a large commission.
Third, the bad blood between the two parties can boil over into a heated confrontation and bitterness for years to come. “I think in the beginning of my career I probably lost my cool one time with one guy,” an agent with a handful of years as a certified agent told HoopsHype. “We exchanged some words and kind of got into it where he was like threatening me.” Many times before games, a former agent and client will look at each other and turn away immediately or say hello briefly and carry on. Generally, the tension can be felt by those around both people.
Whether it’s a family member, manager, trainer, former coach, close friend, teammate, or someone else in a player’s inner circle, there’s usually an angle for an intermediary to push for a change in representation. “Everyone’s incentivized when people switch,” one prominent agent told HoopsHype. “Somebody’s getting paid, like 99 (percent) someone’s getting taken care of in the next contract, or somebody’s getting paid when there’s an intermediary involved. Sometimes, players grow up, and they start to figure things out, and then they don’t use an intermediary. They learn enough, they talk to some veterans that they respect, who have a good reputation. They say, ‘I’m going to find someone for me, not who my dad wanted or, or my AAU coach wanted or whoever. I want to make my own decision.'”
“They (sneaker reps) have relationships with the players at a different angle, and they’re trying to push players with an agenda whether it’s for kickbacks, which I assume it is, or it’s for another reason, I don’t know, but they don’t play neutral,” one agent who has negotiated maximum-salary contracts and large endorsement deals told HoopsHype. “Then you’ve got the managers, and then you got the trainers. If you don’t sync up everybody onto your page and everyone’s biting out of your pocket, you’re going to lose a guy. You have to insulate the player to anyone that has any influence, and people that you don’t know have an influence, you have to be aware of as well. It’s a never-ending cycle. I remember one time, there was a tailor, like a clothier, who had influence over players who was pushing them to an agent for a kickback.”
The battle between agents for a client and a hefty commission can get heated if any of these scenarios occur, and a poaching attempt is provable. “You have to get in the agent’s face and say, ‘Stay out of my yard,’” an agent told HoopsHype. “Then, you have to write them a law letter claiming tortious interference. Send them a very strong letter to say I’m not going to tolerate this, and you have to police it yourself. You either move the needle that way or the person is criminal, he doesn’t give a s— anyway, he does it anyway, and then you’ve got a battle on your hands.”
Klutch Sports: We are excited to have @BenMcLemore back with the Klutch Sports Group Family! https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EfFMzIRVoAAjx0G.jpg
David Carro: Very exciting to announce @facucampazzo joins @OctagonBballEU family! Welcome to arguably the best point guard in @EuroLeague Big heart, humble person and magic talent all together. With the best: @claudio_villita Honored. @FairPlayCM
Ian Begley: Sources: Willie Cauley-Stein has signed with Adie von Gontard of Young Money APAA Sports for representation. Cauley-Stein, who is not in the bubble due to personal reasons, has a $2.3 million player option for next season. Interesting young player for teams w/cap space like NYK
Eric Woodyard: Former Oklahoma State star Jawun Evans has switched agencies to CAA. The 2017 2nd-round pick spent this past season with the Raptors 905 of the NBA G League.
Michael Singer: Inbox: Nuggets forward Noah Vonleh has signed with Tandem Sports/ You First Sports. They’ll handle Vonleh’s negotiations, marketing and PR.
“I would ask those fans who are fans of Trae or Atlanta fans to just look at his history. He knows this is a team effort, but he wants to have that statue next to Dominique (Wilkins) one day, man. I’ve told you this before, my son is 6-foot-1, but he thinks he’s the best player on the court no matter if LeBron is on the floor with him. Hopefully, it never backfires on him, but he’s got big balls and is very confident. He just knows what he wants to accomplish. I never think my son is going to join a super team unless they all come to Atlanta. He’s just got too much pride to do that. Maybe that pride will backfire, but who knows. My son has seen it happen here in Oklahoma City with (Kevin Durant). He wasn’t one of those who called him a cupcake, but he’s seen the backlash of something like that happen.” Young’s contract with Klutch is expected to become official Tuesday afternoon. On Monday, Young was on a conference call with Adidas, one of his main sponsors, brainstorming how he and the company can help black-owned businesses in Atlanta.
“Most definitely because at the end of the day, Trae needs to focus on basketball,” Rayford said. “Trae needs to focus on helping the team win and helping them get to the playoffs. He’s got to have someone he knows when he needs to call the front office, if it’s positive or negative. He needs to have a voice representing him who he could trust. I hate to put it this way; it can’t be someone who just has a long history of being an agent. It has to be someone who he feels good with. It can’t be someone who just because they rep one of the top five players or top 10 players of the league. Trae didn’t go to Klutch just because of A.D. or LeBron. He went there because he believes guys like Rich and Omar can make some calls for him. You have to go with who you’re comfortable with. That’s on the court and off the court. Hopefully, Trae is in the position one day to play with who he’s comfortable with. That’s just the opportunities he’s building for himself now.”
JD Shaw: Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young has signed with Klutch Sports for representation.
Young recently notified Octagon of his decision, sources said. Sources say Young will soon begin the process of interviewing agents and is weighing all of his options. He is in no rush to make a decision, but sources say the frontrunner for the Hawks’ franchise player is the agency founded by Rich Paul.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Two agencies -- Tandem and You First -- have merged, per release. Combined clients include Ja Morant, Kristaps Porzingis and Serge Ibaka. “Merging our efforts in basketball will create exciting new possibilities as well as broader expertise," Tandem's President Jim Tanner said.
Liz Mullen: Indiana Pacers PG Aaron Holiday has signed with @BDA_Sports. NBA agents Bill Duffy & Nima Namakian are representing him.
Bouna Ndiaye: Comsport and myself have terminated our professional relationship with player Sekou Doumbouya. We are wishing him the best.
Alex Kennedy: Detroit Pistons guard Jordan Bone has changed agencies. The 22-year-old will now be represented by Colin Bryant of Fundamental Sports Management.
Liz Mullen: L.A. Lakers G Quinn Cook has signed with @PrioritySports. NBA Agent Mark Bartelstein is representing him. He had previously been represented by Tandem.
Jermaine Jackson confirmed that Lonzo, LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball are all preparing to sign with JAY-Z‘s Roc Nation Sports for representation. The sports management division will negotiate marketing opportunities for the brothers, including LaMelo’s sneaker contract which is still in negotiation. Speaking to ESPN, Jackson, who is LaMelo’s manager, referred to the news as a “family decision.” He said, “This is now an extended family. They put together a beautiful game plan with Jay-Z. The basketball game is about to change. They are going to create something totally new.”
LaMelo, Lonzo and LiAngelo Ball are planning to sign with Roc Nation Sports, according to ESPN's Jonathan Givony. "This was a family decision," Jermaine Jackson, LaMelo Ball's agent, told ESPN. "This is now an extended family. They put together a beautiful game plan with Jay-Z. The basketball game is about to change. They are going to create something totally new." Roc Nation Sports is a branch of Jay-Z's music management company, which he started in 2013. The company represents multiple sports and top NBA players like Kyrie Irving and Markelle Fultz.
In February, Robinson signed on with Rich Paul, the superagent who guides the careers of LeBron James and Anthony Davis and recently made the cover of Sports Illustrated for his influence. Paul became Robinson’s fifth agent — one of the perplexing sidelights to Robinson’s fledgling career. So far, so good as Robinson’s game took off in the final weeks leading into the March 11 shutdown. “When you get the right representation, there’s an ease that comes to your mind that allows you to focus on other things,’’ Paul told The Post in his first remarks regarding his new alliance with Robinson. “It’s hard to sleep with both eyes closed in this business. It’s a lot more mental than people think.’’
Emiliano Carchia: New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball is parting ways with agency CAA, a source told @Emiliano Carchia
Keith Pompey: #Phoenix #Suns G Kelly Oubre Jr. has signed with agent Torrel Harris of Unique Sports Management International, according to sources. Harris is the agent and father of #Sixers forward Tobias Harris, among others. Torrel got Tobias a five-year $180M deal with PHILLY in July. #NBA
CAA Sports has signed Dorian Finney-Smith, who is now the starting small forward for the Dallas Mavericks, after not being selected in the 2016 NBA draft. NBA agent Michael Tellem will lead the team of agents at CAA Sports who will represent Finney-Smith on and off the court. He was formerly represented by Pro Partner Sports Management.
Knicks center Mitchell Robinson will now be on his fifth agent – and at least he has found the most famous. Robinson has fired his latest rep Mayar Zokaei recently and will tab LeBron James/Anthony Davis agent Rich Paul, giving him his first client with the Knicks, according to multiple sources. The move won’t become official until after a 15-day grace period.
Ian Begley: Mitchell Robinson has signed with agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Group, per SNY sources.
Chris Haynes: Yahoo Sources: Rich Paul has recently been hired by two Knicks: Mitchell Robinson and Allonzo Trier.
Liz Mullen: Indiana Pacers C/F Myles Turner has signed with @BDA_Sports for representation. NBA agent Bill Duffy is representing him.
Grant Afseth: Indiana Pacers C Myles Turner has officially switched representation. The 2018-19 NBA blocks leader has signed with agent Bill Duffy of BDA Sports Management, according to a league source.
After being represented by Johnny Foster of JSF Sports since his time back in Australia, Craig told Mile High Sports that he has elected to sign with the Creative Artists Agency where he will be represented by multiple agents who work for CAA, which is the same agency that represents Gary Harris as well as the likes of Chris Paul, Joel Embiid, Devin Booker, Paul George, and many other high-profile NBA players.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Minnesota Timberwolves F Andrew Wiggins is signing with @CAASports for his new representation, league sources tell ESPN.
Tony Jones: Utah Jazz point guard Mike Conley has switched agents and joined CAA.... he is now in the same agency as Utah Jazz teammates Donovan Mitchell and Royce O’Neale
Liz Mullen: 76ers G Zhaire Smith has signed with @BDA_Sports Sports. NBA agents Bill Duffy & David Mondress are representing him.
Marcus Morris: Excited to officially join the @rocnationsports family. Only up from here. Family ties! #RocFam pic.twitter.com/7SST5F3ByF
The 2019-2020 N.B.A. season kicked-off last week and for Roc Nation Sports and their clients, it was a busy day. The surging sports agency added an additional client to that list. Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. has signed with Roc Nation Sports and will be represented by veteran agent Raymond Brothers. Brothers recently joined Roc Nation Sports and has quickly made significant contributions to the agency, bringing with him both existing and new clients.
Liz Mullen: CAA Sports has signed New Orleans Pelicans G Josh Hart for representation on and off the court. Agents Leon Rose and Aaron Mintz will represent Hart.
Chris Haynes: Yahoo Sources: Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic is switching agents and will sign with Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Group.
Forward Jaylen Brown told the Globe Thursday that he has hired agent Jason Glushon to take the lead on contract-extension negotiations with the Celtics. “It’s just what’s best for me,” Brown said. “I don’t really want to talk about it. I think [talking] is a distraction. But I made my decision and I move on.”
Brian Windhorst asked Jackie MacMullan to confirm if Brown was still working without an agent. The veteran ESPN reporter said that was “not true” and that Brown was actually now with Jason Glushon. The agent played both collegiate and minor league baseball and previously worked at Wasserman before opening his own shop.
Brown has made it through three years without an agent. His mother has handled a lot of the responsibilities, and he has worked with a marketing executive. And that was probably a savvy play on his part, as rookie contracts are locked in anyway. But these negotiations are different. One league source said it appears that Brown will retain an agent for these talks. The problem for Brown is that he has not really shown statistical improvement over his three seasons. His per-36-minute numbers are almost identical. So the Celtics will likely be reluctant to make a max extension offer. But it’s unlikely Brown would settle for much less. The probable result is that no deal is finalized before the season begins, meaning Brown will enter next summer as a restricted free agent.
Markelle Fultz: Excited to announce that I’m officially joining the @rocnationsports family! Looking forward to this next chapter. :hand::skin-tone-5::raised_back_of_hand::skin-tone-5: #RocFam
Nuggets guard Malik Beasley has new representation as he approaches the Oct.31 deadline for a potential contract extension: He has signed with Klutch Sports, with agent Rich Paul as the primary agent and Lucas Newton as the secondary agent.
In the latest episode of “Ball In the Family,” LiAngelo revealed that all three of his brothers are now represented by CAA Sports: “When Zo got signed to CAA, they took me and Melo too. I’m trying to get on a summer league team and then hopefully that carry me to the NBA. It feels like stuff is starting to fall into place and it feels good.”
Royce Young: Thunder two-way player Lu Dort has signed with agents Thad Foucher and Joe Smith of Wasserman Media Group, according to league sources. Foucher is the long-time agent agent of Russell Westbrook and Foucher and Smith also represent Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Ramona Shelburne: Los Angels Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell is returning to agent Rich Paul from @KlutchSports. Harrell, who will be an unrestricted free agent next summer, had his best season last year, finishing third behind teammate Lou Williams in Sixth Man of the Year award voting.
Ramona Shelburne: Paul initially represented Harrell when he came into the league and signed a three-year deal as a second-round pick of the @Houston Rockets pic.twitter.com/P3iIE9pIXJ
Tania Ganguli: With an eye toward growing his business interests, Kyle Kuzma is parting ways with his agents, Mark Bartelstein and Zach Kurtin of Priority Sports and Entertainment, according to sources. He hasn't started meeting with prospective agents yet.
Tania Ganguli: From Bartelstein: "I wish nothing but the best for Kyle. This was simply a situation in which it became clear our visions were not aligned. When that is the case, it simply does not make sense to continue our partnership. Once again, I want nothing but great things for Kyle.”
Stefan Bondy: According to a source, Marcus Morris and Nerlens Noel have fired agent Rich Paul.
Marc Stein: The former All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins, in his search for a new home in free agency after spending last season with the Warriors, has changed representation ... enlisting the influential agent Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports
Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving is changing representation and expected to partner with Roc Nation Sports, league sources told ESPN. Irving parted ways with longtime agent Jeff Wechsler on Wednesday, clearing the way for him to ultimately work with Jay-Z's Roc Nation prior to the start of free agency on June 30, sources said.
Irving, a six-time All-Star, will become an unrestricted free agent and league sources say that he remains intensely interested in the Brooklyn Nets. The New York Knicks are expected to remain competitive for Irving too, sources tell ESPN.
Alex Kennedy: Shane Larkin is no longer with agent Jim Tanner of Tandem Sports. The 26-year-old spent this season with Anadolu Efes, leading them to the Final Four while averaging 19.6 points, 3.6 threes and 3.2 assists (on 64.7% from the field and 50% from deep). He's looking for a new agent.
While the fiasco surrounding Big Baller Brand and Alan Foster, Lonzo Ball has endured plenty of emotional turmoil in the recent month. Forced to sever ties with the co-founder of the company, Ball has since sued Foster and begun moving on from the company and Foster himself. During his exit interview on Wednesday, Ball discussed publicly the situation for the first time. “We just put so much trust in him. So, when that came out in October – like I said, he’s like my second dad – I just talked to him and I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it when he gave me his story. Looking back at it, obviously I wish we would have jumped on it back in October. But I’m glad we still caught it.”
Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball has committed to work with Creative Artists Agency after mutually parting ways with his previous agent, Harrison Gaines, last week. "After thinking about this decision over the last few weeks, I concluded that CAA made the most sense for my career both on and off the court," Ball told ESPN in a statement Monday. "With CAA now in place to manage my basketball career, I can focus my attention and energy on training for the upcoming season."
Ball said he talked with several different agencies as he rethought his business affairs after severing ties and suing former Big Baller Brand co-founder Alan Foster for damages of at least $2 million. Ball insisted that Gaines had supported him through the situation with Foster and the decision to part ways was unrelated. Ball's father, LaVar Ball, has had discussions with CAA and other agencies as well, according to industry sources, but it remains unclear how he, his younger sons LiAngelo and LaMelo, and Big Baller Brand will move forward.
Why did you and Lonzo Ball agree to part ways now? Does it have anything to do with the issues the family has with Alan Foster? Harrison Gaines: No, it does not. As I said in my statement two weeks ago, my interaction with Alan Foster was limited. Anybody around the situation knows I was completely distant from anything Big Baller Brand related. I love Lonzo like a brother; our decision to part ways had nothing to do with our relationship. It was solely based on his family’s new direction/expectations and my own personal growth moving forward.
Were you actually ever part of a Ball Sports Group agency or did you independently run your own agency? People have been asking whether Lonzo had any equity in your agency or whether he received a piece of your commissions. Can you clear the air on that? Harrison Gaines: No, the Ball Sports Group was an agency in theory. Lavar and Alan Foster did not want the public to think the brothers were represented by an outside entity. Therefore, I agreed to hold Ball Sports Group out in reference to the brothers.
But there are concerns from respective agents with LaVar’s involvement and where the family stands financially with the failed Big Baller Brand, sources said. In the process of vetting agent candidates during meetings, LaVar is inquiring if the agencies have the power to pair his three sons — Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo — on the same NBA team, sources said.
LaMelo, the youngest son, may have an NBA future, but middle son LiAngelo is not viewed as an NBA-caliber player. Multiple agents have reached out to gauge the interest of Lonzo Ball, sources said, but most became uninterested once notified LaVar is still running the show.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball and his agent, Harrison Gaines, have mutually agreed to part ways. "Harrison Gaines has been a trusted advisor and close friend for many years," Ball told ESPN in a statement. "He guided my NBA career with integrity and always had my best interests at heart."
"Lonzo Ball was the first client to sign with me. He has been nothing short of phenomenal and is one of the bright young NBA Stars. I thank him and his family for giving me an opportunity," Gaines told ESPN in a statement. "Mutually, we have decided to part ways. I wish Lonzo great success in the future. As I turn this page, I will continue to work hard for all of my clients."
Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green told ESPN's The Undefeated on Tuesday that he has officially signed with a new representation agency in Klutch Sports that also represents LeBron James. Green, a three-time NBA champion and three-time All-Star, was previously represented by agent B.J. Armstrong with The Wasserman Group. Green signed with Klutch Sports, led by president and agent Rich Paul, on Feb. 27 in Miami.
Green will be an unrestricted free agent in 2020. "Klutch is a cutting-edge company, it's a pure environment, and I've grown to know Rich over the years," Green told The Undefeated. "We've become very close. When you really take a step back and actually study what is going on, he checks every box that a player would want in an agent. So, why not? Some are afraid of what people will think or what will be said. That's not the case for me."
Chris Haynes: Sacramento Kings young star De’Aaron Fox (@swipathefox) going in a new direction, hiring his longtime trainer Chris Gaston (@gastonbball) to serve as his agent. Gaston, newly certified, launching “Family First Sports Firm” and will also rep New York Knicks guard Damyean Dotson. @ChrisPatrickJr will still represent Damyean Dotson, but co-rep with Gaston.
Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green is close to hiring Rich Paul of Klutch Sports as his basketball representation, league sources told Yahoo Sports. He was previously repped by Wasserman. At the conclusion of this season, the three-time All-Star will have a year remaining on the five-year, $82 million contract he signed in 2015.
Liz Mullen: Atlanta Hawks F John Collins, who will be participating in the Rising Stars & Slam Dunk at NBA All-Star this week, has signed with @excelsm. Agents Sean Kennedy & Jeff Schwartz are representing him. He was formerly represented by CAA Sports.