Storyline: Agent Changes

365 rumors in this storyline

“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.

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“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.”

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.’’

Dennis Smith has new agent

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.

Jaylen Brown finally hiring an agent?

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.

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.”
1 year ago via ESPN

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.”
1 year ago via ESPN

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.

Ahead of his free agency, Burke switched agents last month from Toronto-based Mike George to Sam Permut of New York-based Roc Nation. “Timing was very, very important for me,” Burke said. “It was already something I was kind of thinking about doing but a lot of people may look at it and think that my past agent Mike George that he wasn’t doing his job but that wasn’t the case at all. “I just believe what I’m looking for in my career and where I’m trying to go, I feel like Roc Nation was a better fit for me, if that makes sense. Obviously being here in New York, Mike being in Toronto, I just felt like it made more sense. It wasn’t an easy decision. I think a lot of people look at it like he fired his agent. That’s one of the hardest things to do especially when you have a good relationship with your agent so I just think it’s the best fit for me and it’s a decision I wanted to make for my career. I knew if I wanted to make it I knew I didn’t want it to prolong throughout the season and be something on my mind. I wanted to get it done right then and there.”

Insiders think that’s what Davis is doing, with the firing of agent Thad Foucher and hiring of Rich Paul, LeBron’s close friend and agent, all about the possibility of going to the Lakers. “Why else did AD do it?” asks an East GM. “Things are going great for him. The team is going good. He got the Derrick Rose extension [a five-year $150 million deal that each team is allowed to offer one player on his rookie contract.] “It’s not because of race. Thad Foucher is an Afro-American. It’s not because of agency. Thad Foucher is from the Wasserman Group and has Russell Westbrook. So why did he do it?”

The size of the contract with the two team options is not the reason for the switch. Robinson was selected in the second round at No. 36. According to sources, those closest to Robinson thought he had a better shot at becoming a late first-round pick — with more guaranteed money — if the pre-draft process was conducted smoother and smarter. The day before the Draft Combine, Robinson’s reps decided to pull him out. Robinson, according to sources, believed that was a mistake. “He had trained two months just for the combine and he was ready for it,’’ one source said.
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July 5, 2020 | 6:47 pm EDT Update
The Rockets plan to travel to Orlando later this week and will play their first of eight “seeding” games on July 31 against the Dallas Mavericks. The Rockets are assured of one of eight playoff spots in the Western Conference and are tied for fifth place with the Oklahoma City Thunder, with the Mavericks 1½ games behind. “The team that catches a rhythm first, kind of has an advantage overall,” Covington said of his expectations for the abbreviated sprint to the NBA’s finish line this season.
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
He recalled that he and his cousin and two other youths were playing football in the street and occasionally running into a neighbor’s yard. The neighbor told the children to stay out of his yard, and Covington said he and his cousin obliged. The other two kids did not, and the man called the police. The officers began to detain all four of the youths, even though the neighbor told police Covington and his cousin had done nothing wrong. “The cop didn’t care; he arrested all of us,” Covington said. “He put is in the back of the car and took us down to the station. I got stuck in the car – I was too tall and my foot was wedged in between (the front seats). I told the officer I couldn’t get out. He said if you don’t get out of this car, I’m going to break your leg to get you out.”
July 5, 2020 | 2:38 pm EDT Update
July 5, 2020 | 1:47 pm EDT Update
As for next month’s challenge, Marlowe is confident that he and his color analyst, Scott Hastings, can interpret and call the games from afar. “It’s certainly a technique on how to do it,” he said. “You can’t always see clearly or hear clearly an official’s decision. You can’t interpret it because you’re not right there, so it takes a little bit of imagination.”
July 5, 2020 | 1:10 pm EDT Update
For the most part, the players are feeling pretty comfortable with the health and safety precautions that the NBA has put in place, and believe that the league is doing every thing within their power to mitigate risk related to the coronavirus. It all looks good in theory and on paper, but how it will all work once the players are actually there is another thing entirely. “I’m sure there will be some changes once we get down there, and they see that some things worked and some things didn’t,” Georges Niang said on Thursday.
As far as the actual games go, the players aren’t worried about playing without fans or how the schedule was decided on. They’re just excited to get to play again. “We miss playing the game of basketball,” Niang said. “We miss our day jobs so I think for the most part we’re excited to get down there and use our platform for social issues and be safe while doing that. The NBA has set up an environment that’s given us the right safety protocols to move in the right direction to be able to play.”
The insinuation was that players would not be able to be away from their sexual partners for such a long time. “Forget three months, they’re gonna struggle with three weeks,” Smith yelled. Do the Jazz think that players will break the rules of the bubble? “If they do, that’s them,” O’Neale said, dismissing the notion. “I’m single, I’m by myself, I ain’t got nothing to worry about. Quarantine life was kind of easy for me. I just played video games and hung out with my dog, so I think it’ll kind of be the same thing. Just without my dog. I’ll be alright.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Rick Carlisle: “On the heels of George Floyd’s death on May 25, the head coaches got together on a Zoom call which was put together very quickly. We talked about the things that are going on in the world. Lloyd Pierce, who is the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, made a very passionate speech to the entire group about his feelings about everything. He was immediately appointed the chair of the NBA coaches committee on racial injustice and reform. That committee met on Zoom calls probably five times and filtered through a lot of different things to the point where now on a national level we’re under the Obama Foundation …”
Rick Carlisle: “In Dallas, I’m partnering with Mothers Against Police Brutality. We’ve met many times on Zoom. We had an in-person meeting with the mayor. We had a virtual meeting with T.C. Broadnax, the city manager. We had another meeting with [Dallas police chief] Renee Hall. So we’ve gotten into good conversations there. Our initiative, the final title of it, is NBA Coaches for Racial Justice. We will have a pin that we wear. A big part of what we’re doing, because we’re coaches, we’re teachers and we’re educators.”
July 5, 2020 | 1:00 pm EDT Update
Perhaps the most difficult injury to return and recover from is a ruptured achilles, but not only has Rodney Hood put in the work off the court, he is also putting a tremendous amount of work on the court. The Portland Trail Blazers tweeted a video of the former Duke basketball player rising up to the rim, albeit in a controlled and cautious way as he works his way back to the court.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith was the one to throw the San Antonio Spurs head coach’s name in the mix, but there’s been no word about the idea since. Not until Nets general manager Sean Marks was asked about the possibility on WFAN’s Joe & Evan on Friday: Pop has a job. So I will say that. And, obviously, we all know he’s an amazing, amazing coach — and to be quite frank, an even better leader. So I’ll let Pop continue to coach for the Spurs. He owes it to them and they owe it to him. I’m sure he’s quite happy there.
When he gets back to the head coaching search, Marks intends to talk to Brooklyn’s “key players” about who will run the show next. And he specifically mentioned Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving when addressing the matter on WFAN: It would be probably, you know, not incredibly smart of us if we did not involve some of these key players in this decision. That only goes to Kevin, I think it’s — you know, Kevin and Kyrie, we’re gonna pick their brains on what they are looking for in a leader, what they want in a coach, what they need. I think these guys have been brutally honest so far.
Storyline: Nets Coaching Job
Jamaal Wilkes said he’s proud to be an American and wants law and order while at the same time seeing the need for change in the wake of demonstrations after the May 25 killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. “I’m not an activist. I’m not in the guts of the stuff, but we need some kind of reform with the police department (while) recognizing that the majority are good police,” Wilkes said in a recent conversation with the Bay Area News Group’s Wes Goldberg. “And they are probably as sick and embarrassed and disgusted with the Floyd incident as most of the country is.”
The Floyd murder during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jamaal Wilkes: “On one hand, it was very shocking and disturbing. On the other hand, it’s nothing new . . . it was unbelievable. It was horrible and no one could deny it because there was footage. That, along there being no sports, brought it to a head. I think that all lives matter, of course, but it’s only black lives that are being murdered. We can no longer tip-toe or ignore the elephant in the room, which is systemic racism, white privilege.”
July 5, 2020 | 12:42 pm EDT Update

Jared Sullinger wants back in the NBA

On Saturday, The Basketball Tournament kicked off and Jared Sullinger was on the sideline for Carmen’s Crew. He was the coach of the team filled mostly with Ohio State alumni. It’s a role he relishes. Yet it’s not a role he wants to assume permanently. Sullinger, the Celtics’ first-round pick in 2012 who enjoyed four solid seasons with the club, still has aspirations of returning to the NBA. He’s only 28 but hasn’t played in the league in three years. His post-Celtic career lasted just 11 games with the Raptors, and then Sullinger learned about the harsh reality of being injured and considered damaged goods.
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He has recovered fully. Sullinger is married and the father of twins. He reflects on his Celtics years fondly but hopes he’s not done gobbling up rebounds with his burly frame. “I want to play and, of course, the NBA is the ultimate goal,” he said. “The last two years I just felt like I had to find myself. I had to find something that drives me and makes me want to play. In the NBA, you kind of get lost in the shuffle because you have so many games, and when I got out there in [the Chinese Basketball Association] it was kind of a retreat for Jared Sullinger to learn himself and fall in love with the game again.”
Smith aspires to be a general manager, but the NBA has had issues in recent years with diversity in front offices. He hopes that recent events will cause the NBA power structure to closely examine hiring. “To think people don’t gravitate toward people who are like them, look like them, or are like-minded, then you don’t understand the basis of stereotypes and racism, which is two different things,” he said. “If I make my decisions based on race and not having the ability to have the opportunity, then I’m a racist. It’s a simple process. White America is like how do I figure it out? You’re making the decision and you’re taking into account that it will hinder someone based on their race. That’s a racist act, period.”
What bothers Smith and many other former players is that front office candidates who did not play the game but are astute analytically are somehow seen as more qualified than former players. “You mean to tell me LeBron James couldn’t put a team together? He puts it together now. You’re telling me his production and consumption of information is not more valuable than someone who’s never played the game? It’s impossible. It’s an awareness.”
Though Marlowe said he would’ve preferred the NBA scrap the regular-season games and jump straight to the playoffs, he did find an advantage for the Nuggets. Their grueling schedule, featuring games against both Los Angeles teams, the Raptors and the Thunder, is a perfect primer for the postseason, he said. The Nuggets were 15-11 against teams that were .500 or better throughout the season, which was a better record than all but three teams in the NBA. In addition, as Marlowe pointed out, seeding doesn’t really matter since there’s no homecourt advantage. “I think the eight play-in games are interesting because I believe six of the last eight for the Nuggets were going to be played away from Pepsi Center, so the Nuggets don’t have to do that,” he said. “That being said, I don’t think winning is the preeminent goal in these (seeding) games. I don’t think it really matters to the Nuggets to finish third, fourth, fifth or sixth. I think the key is, can coach Malone and the rest of the coaches get this team playing at its zenith in these eight games and going into the playoffs?”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Meanwhile, high atop the Chicago skyline, Bosh was in a conference room receiving a pitch from the Heat — a meeting punctuated by Pat Riley unfurling a small velvet carpet onto the table, followed by the presentation of a small velvet bag. “Oh, yeah, Pat brought his rings out. It looked just like a Crown Royal bag,” Bosh said. “He puts it down, like boom. Big boy talk. When he ended the meeting, Pat gave me a 2006 Heat championship ring.” “Take it. Keep it. Give it back to me when you win one,” Riley said to Bosh. “I still haven’t given it back,” Bosh said. “I wonder if he even remembers that? I think I mentioned it once, like, ‘Yo, do you want that ring back?’ And he said, ‘What are you talking about?’ And I kept it moving.”
A generation ago, it was tough to find any Warriors fans outside of the Bay Area, let alone at some desolate outpost in Southeast Europe. But by now, such encounters no longer count as shocking. After five consecutive trips to the NBA Finals, with a roster that features some of the game’s most marketable players, and after a concerted effort to raise their profile abroad, the Warriors emerged as a certifiable global brand. According to the team’s internal tracking, the majority of the Warriors’ social media followers reside outside the United States — that’s 80 percent of their followers on Facebook, 70 percent on Instagram, 52 percent on Twitter.
He recalled over the phone last week that in the late ’80s, growing the NBA meant Stern handing a baffled TV executive from Italy a stack of videocassette recordings in hopes the exec would air them when he got back home. “The victories were getting a game that was played 10 days ago aired at a terrible time on Italian television,’’ Welts said. “That’s the kind of thing we considered a victory back then.” Around that time, league officials also attended an international market show in Cannes. “With pretty much a cardboard table and a bunch of business cards,’’ Welts said. “We just tried to grab any television programmer who was there to try to explain to them what the NBA was and why it would be such a great property for their company to air on television.”
July 5, 2020 | 4:34 am EDT Update

Nets to make 'godfather offer' to Gregg Popovich?

In an appearance this week on the “Let’s Get Technical” podcast with retired NBA stars Rasheed Wallace and Bonzi Wells, Gerald Brown of SiriusXM NBA Radio noted the presence of rumors linking Popovich to the Brooklyn Nets. The rumors state that Nets owner Joe Tsai is looking to make a “godfather offer” to Popovich for him to come coach the team.

Stone Cold Shea Jackson: It’s mostly trolls I guess. But even homie callin him entitled. Earlier in June and people siding with him. Now they talkin bout him demanding a trade and shit but it ain’t never from him. And that got niggas callin him a bum. And he the realest dude you could find in the league. Damian Lillard: My stance ain’t changed. This is a result of a pandemic and lack of content lol.
Storyline: Damian Lillard Trade?
Add in Nic Claxton’s season-ending injury, and that leaves Jarrett Allen as the only healthy Net taller than 6-foot-9. Expect GM Sean Marks to sign a big man as a substitute player for Jordan. “We have to definitely think about that,” Vaughn said. “Sean and I talked this morning on a call and we talked about addressing our size and not putting extra demand on Jarrett. So that could definitely be a route we take for sure.
From the moment he and his teammates reconvened in Florida last week, Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka said everyone was “locked in” and ready to get to work. “I saw just how everyone is in great shape,” Ibaka said on a conference call with reporters Saturday. “They came here in great shape and as soon as we got here everyone was starting to put in work. “I’ve been in the league for 11 years. You can see when people’s locked in and they are ready mentally, and when they are not. “So I can tell you right now, mentally, everybody is ready. Everybody is ready.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Josh Lewenberg: Serge on COVID-19 numbers in Florida: “Honestly, it’s a little concerning. Hopefully everybody follows the rules when we get into the bubble in Orlando… I have my daughter, who lives here. It’s kinda scary a little bit.” Ibaka on Raptors: “Man, listen, we believe in us. We have the experience, we have the championship mentality already, we’ve got confidence. It’s time to go to work. We’re ready.”