SBD/June 10, 2013/Labor and Agents

Sources: Durant Leaving Landmark Sports To Join Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports

Durant leaves Landmark Sports after just over a year with the agency
Thunder F Kevin Durant is leaving Landmark Sports, and multiple sources said they expect Durant to join Roc Nation Sports. A Roc Nation Sports spokesperson declined comment on whether Durant was joining the firm founded by Jay-Z in April '13. Landmark Sports President Rob Pelinka, who had repped Durant since April ’12, in a statement said, "We are honored and blessed to have worked on behalf of Kevin for a brief period of time. He is an amazing person and athlete, and we are proud of our work and service towards advancing his brand in a manner that reflects the mutual qualities we share with Kevin. We wish him nothing but success in his future endeavors." Durant's Thunder contract runs through the ’15-16 season. He was represented by NBA player agent Aaron Goodwin of Goodwin Sports Management prior to hiring Landmark Sports (Liz Mullen, Staff Writer). USA TODAY's Sam Amick reported it appears Durant's "interest is only in the marketing opportunities that could come from the partnership and that he does not have a desire to be represented by the agent who works with Roc Nation, Leon Rose" of CAA (USATODAY.com, 6/7).

AMERICAN IDOL: YAHOO SPORTS' Adrian Wojnarowski cited a source as saying Durant "doesn't want a traditional NBA agent anymore." The source: "He wants Jay-Z to handle his branding. … He had a chance to be with his idol and couldn't say no." Wojnarowski noted in Durant's year with Pelinka, he "became the league's most marketed player in national television spots with the likes of Nike, Degree and Sprint." Wojnarowski: "Few, if any, NBA players have been as visible on television as Durant" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/8). ESPN.com's Darren Rovell noted it is "unknown whether Jay-Z will wait until he sells his small ownership share" in the Nets before signing Durant. A source said that Jay-Z's ownership sale "has not yet been completed." If Jay-Z is "just doing marketing work for Durant, he might be able to steer clear of NBA rules that would prohibit him from representing a player and owning a piece of a team" (ESPN.com, 6/7).

A SHIFT IN MENTALITY: CSNWASHINGTON.com's Daniel Martin wrote, "The union of the D.C. native and one of hip-hop's most influential figures could signal the start of a paradigm shift in professional sports" (CSNWASHINGTON.com, 6/8). ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said, "A lot of people out there need to be put on notice. You've got the modern-day athletes that are not just looking for somebody to negotiate their contracts or handle their money. They're looking for people that know a thing or two about marketing and how to parlay their on-court exploits into something far more significant." ESPN's Skip Bayless said, "What bothers me about this is it seems like every other commercial I see during the game features Kevin Durant. I would like to see him go out and win a ring first before he continues to expand that brand" ("First Take," ESPN2, 6/10).

JET SET: NFL.com's Albert Breer cited sources as saying that the NFLPA met with Roc Nation reps last Wednesday in DC to "discuss if hip-hop star Jay-Z was involved in the recruitment" of Jets rookie QB Geno Smith. Breer noted the investigation is the "result of Smith's announcement in May that he was leaving his previous representation and hiring Roc Nation Sports." Agent Kim Miale was "set to serve as the quarterback's contract agent." The union still is "investigating and plans on conducting several more interviews before coming to a decision" (NFL.com, 6/7).
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