SBJ/June 10-16, 2013/Labor and Agents

NBPA’s decision on search firm possible after Finals

Liz Mullen
The National Basketball Players Association has been researching executive search firms to find a new executive director for the union and may make a decision on a firm after the NBA Finals are over, said Jerry Stackhouse, a member of the players’ executive committee.

“We have the names of two or three search firms we are vetting,” Stackhouse said in an interview last week. “It’s a matter of making a decision.”

The NBPA’s executive committee had been holding regular conference calls since Billy Hunter was fired as executive director in February, but the calls slowed during the playoffs. Several members of the executive committee were still playing, and two are in the Finals this week: NBPA secretary-treasurer James Jones plays for Miami, while NBPA vice president Matt Bonner is with San Antonio.

“We are not going to be swayed by public opinion or media opinion.”

JERRY STACKHOUSE
Member, NBPA executive committee

Photo by: NBAE / GETTY IMAGES
Stackhouse said reports that the NBPA was narrowing in on a candidate for the job were false. “We haven’t got a search firm in place; how can there be a leading candidate?” he said.

The New York Daily News reported late last month that former MSG President Steve Mills had emerged as the leading candidate. Mills declined to comment last week.

“Steve is a very qualified candidate, and there are a lot of qualified candidates who will be part of the process when we get to that point,” Stackhouse said. “We understand people want to see things happen and force the issue, but we are not going to be swayed by public opinion or media opinion.”

Although a final decision has not been made, Stackhouse said the NBPA would likely have its annual players meeting in August in Las Vegas. As previously reported, the players had postponed the meeting and were trying to decide whether to hold it in Las Vegas or the Bahamas in either August or September. The NBPA annual meeting is historically held in June and has been held at both locales in recent years, but Stackhouse noted this year was very different from other years after the termination of Hunter.

> IMG AIMS TO EXTEND TSENG’S DEALS: IMG has brought golfer Yani Tseng back into its fold after representing her in 2008 and 2009. She left for her own management firm, but IMG has now renewed its relationship with the No. 5 ranked LPGA Tour player, and its first order of business will be making decisions on whether to extend or modify a number of her existing endorsement deals, said Clarke Jones, IMG senior vice president and managing director of IMG Golf, the Americas.

IMG said its first order of business will be making decisions on whether to extend or modify a number of Tseng’s existing endorsement deals.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
Tseng has endorsements with Adams Golf for equipment; Titleist for ball, shoe and glove; and Lacoste for apparel. Additionally, she has deals with Oakley, Rolex, Taiwan Mobile, Audi, Reignwood Pine Valley and Acer Technology.
Jones said roughly half of Tseng’s endorsements expire at the end of 2013 but did not identify which ones.
“She has a fantastic portfolio of partners,” Jones said. As to new deals: “First, we want to get an understanding of her current partners and where they are with their brand and where they are going,” Jones said. “Once we get that sorted out, we will be able to look around the world.”

Tseng previously was an IMG client starting on Jan. 1, 2008, but left on Dec. 31, 2009, for her own management firm. Her management company in Taiwan, Nihao, will still play a role in representing Tseng in that market, but IMG will take the lead in representing her in global deals.

Jones; Carol Su, IMG managing director, golf, Taiwan; and Kevin Hopkins, IMG client manager, will lead her representation at IMG.

Jones said he, Su and others at IMG have been working for more than a year to get Tseng, who won LPGA rookie of the year in 2008 and is a two-time LPGA player of the year (2010, 2011), back as a client. “It’s wonderful to have her back and to be able to employ all of our resources around the world,” he said.

> WASSERMAN SIGNS NBA PROSPECTS: Wasserman Media Group has signed a number of prospects for the NBA draft, including Georgia guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Gonzaga center/forward Kelly Olynyk and Pittsburgh center/forward Steven Adams, all projected lottery picks.

NBADraft.net had Caldwell-Pope ranked No. 10, Olynyk No. 11 and Adams No. 12 in its mock draft last week.
Wasserman also has signed Louisville center/forward Gorgui Dieng, Marquette guard Vander Blue, Kansas center Jeff Withey, North Texas forward Tony Mitchell and Detroit guard Ray McCallum.
 
NBA player agents Arn Tellem, Darren Matsubara, B.J. Armstrong, Thad Foucher, Makhtar Ndiaye and Greg Lawrence will represent the players.

“This compares very favorably to all of our other draft classes,” said Tellem, who is also vice chairman of Wasserman. “We have a diverse group of very talented players from all over the world. They are great prospects and have great character, and I am confident they all will have successful careers.”

> IMPACT SPORTS SIGNS NBA PROSPECTS: Impact Sports has signed a number of prospects for the NBA draft, including San Diego State guard/forward Jamaal Franklin.

Impact also signed Florida State guard Michael Snaer and Florida guard Kenny Boynton.

Agents Brian Elfus and Mitch Frankel will represent the players.

Liz Mullen can be reached at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @SBJLizMullen.

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