SBJ/May 27 - June 2, 2002/Labor Agents

Everything's coming up roses for Iverson's new contract agent Rose

After years of slowly but steadily growing his basketball practice, Leon Rose has cracked the upper echelon of NBA agents by signing Philadelphia 76ers superstar Allen Iverson and top draft prospect Dajuan Wagner.

"It's been a wonderful year," said Rose, who has been repping players since 1995.

Iverson has been without a certified NBA agent since March 1999, when he fired powerful agent David Falk. In January 1999, Falk negotiated a six-year, $70.9 million contract for Iverson with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Gary Moore, CEO of Crossover Promotions and Iverson's personal manager, said Iverson didn't hire a contract agent until recently because he didn't need one. "Why hire an agent if you have a six-year contract?" Moore asked rhetorically. "He wouldn't need an agent again until it's time for a new contract, and it's nearly time for a new contract." Iverson has two years remaining on a six-year, $70.9 million deal he signed in January 1999, and an option to renew for the 2004-2005 season.

Moore said Iverson hired Rose because he is professional and respected in NBA circles. "Allen has seen firsthand what he does," Moore said of Rose, who also represents the 76ers' Aaron McKie.

Rose said that he sees his role with Iverson as another part of an already "existing structure" that is managing Iverson's business. "I am thrilled to have the opportunity to represent him," Rose said. "He is a superstar."

Along with University of Memphis guard Wagner in this year's draft, Rose also represents Temple point guard Lynn Greer, Memphis point guard Kelly Wise and David Andersen, a power forward from Australia.

Wagner was ranked third on the mock 2002 NBA draft on the Web site nbadraft.net. Andersen, Wise and Greer were unranked.

Rose's first client was Portland Trail Blazers guard Rick Brunson, who was not drafted in 1995 but played in Australia before getting a job in the NBA. Through representing Brunson in Australia, Rose was able to sign Chris Anstey, who was the 18th pick in 1997.

In addition to his four draft prospects, Rose represents nine NBA players, including Miami Heat guard Eddie Jones and Cleveland Cavaliers center DeSagana Diop.

WANG ZHIZHI AGENTLESS: Dallas Mavericks center Wang Zhizhi has severed his relationship with Chinese agent Xia Song, and as a result has parted ways with NBA agent Bill Duffy.

Duffy said that his BDA Sports has also terminated a relationship with Xia.

Wang, who is a free agent this summer, said through an interpreter that he terminated his relationship with Xia because he has not been around to provide him with the help he needs. Wang said he has a good relationship with Duffy, who helped him quite a bit.

Wang has not yet hired another agent.

Duffy said, "Wang and I will continue to have a good friendship, and we are here to help him in any way we can."

DUFFY SIGNS SIX MORE: Leon Rose isn't the only independent NBA agent having a good year. Bill Duffy's BDA Sports signed six more draft prospects, including expected first-rounders Drew Gooden of Kansas and Kareem Rush of Missouri.

Duffy also signed Kentucky forward Tayshaun Prince, Oregon guard Freddie Jones, Oregon center Chris Christoffersen and Missouri guard Clarence Gilbert.

Rankings on nbadraft.net are as follows: Gooden, No. 6; Rush, No. 14; Jones, No. 34; Prince, No. 37; and Christoffersen, No. 56. Gilbert was not ranked.

Duffy has previously announced that he has signed Duke point guard Jay (formerly Jason) Williams, who is ranked No. 2 on the nbadraft.net mock draft list.

Duffy said last week that he was talking to Adidas, And 1, Nike and Reebok about a shoe deal for Williams.

McCORMACK GIVES ADVICE: IMG founder and chairman Mark McCormack's book "Staying Street Smart in the Internet Age" has been re-released in paperback this month under a new title, "Never Wrestle With a Pig ... And Ninety Other Ideas to Build Your Business and Career."

If you are wondering about the title, McCormack explains you should not wrestle with a pig because "you will get dirty and only the pig enjoys it."

Contact Liz Mullen with agent and labor news at lmullen@amcity.com.

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