SBJ/June 5-11, 2017/Labor and Agents

Best class of prospects for Tandem? ‘Absolutely,’ Tanner says

NBA agent Jim Tanner may be having his best year since he launched Tandem Sports & Entertainment, signing a couple of high-profile draft prospects as well as several veteran players.

Tanner has signed a strong draft class, headed up by North Carolina forward Justin Jackson and Texas center Jarrett Allen. Jackson was ranked No. 14 and Allen No. 17 on the mock draft on DraftExpress.com last week. He also signed Vanderbilt forward/center Luke Kornet and another member of the national champion Tar Heels, guard Nate Britt.

Tanner founded Tandem in 2013 after working at Washington, D.C., law firm Williams & Connolly for 16 years. Asked whether this year was his best on his own, Tanner said, “Absolutely.”

Justin Jackson is among Tandem’s clients.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
Tanner said he is talking about endorsements for the four players, adding they all have qualities that brands are increasingly looking for in athlete partners.

“Companies today are looking for ambassadors who can represent their brands with solid on-court performances, integrity and authenticity with active and articulate social media profiles,” Tanner said.

Jackson and Britt are both coming off championship seasons. Allen made an impact at Texas and has a unusual hobby: building computers. Kornet was a double major, studying science and math.

Tandem also has signed several veterans, including New Orleans Pelicans center Omer Asik and Detroit Pistons forward/guard Darrun Hilliard and guard Gary Neal of the NBA D-League’s Reno Bighorns.

Neal is an unrestricted free agent this summer, as are Tandem clients Raymond Felton, Tyler Hansbrough, Shane Larkin, James Michael McAdoo, Jordan McRae and Arinze Onuaku. Tanner also will assist the primary representatives of free agents Vince Carter and Serbian guard Milos Teodosic, whom several NBA clubs are reportedly interested in signing.

> ASHE SIGNS RUGBY PLAYER, COACH: Veteran sports agent Mason Ashe has signed U.S. national rugby sevens team player Perry Baker, as well as the team’s coach, Mike Friday. Baker ranks second in all-time tries, or scores, for the U.S. team and holds the record for tries during a season. “His highlight reel is just ridiculous, running all over the field and no one can catch him,” Ashe said.

Ashe is looking for marketing agreements for both Baker and Friday in all categories and is in talks with companies in the rugby community. Ashe has been an agent for 25 years and worked at IMG and the former Strickland & Ashe before forming his own firm. He has represented NFL and NBA players as well as entertainers.

> MONTAG SIGNS JOHN THOMPSON III: The Montag Group has signed former Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III for representation in broadcasting work.

John is really interested in getting into broadcasting, whether it be as a game analyst or studio analyst,” said Sandy Montag, the agency’s president and CEO. Thompson was not previously represented for broadcast work.

Thompson coached Georgetown’s men’s basketball team for 13 seasons until the university dismissed him in March.

“We really feel he has a lot of upside. He’s well-spoken, thoughtful, a smart guy,” Montag said. “We think there are a lot of avenues available to him as a broadcaster. In the next several months we will be talking to every network that has basketball, whether it be college or NBA.”

> CAA SIGNS CASSPI: CAA Sports has signed free-agent forward Omri Casspi, who last played for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Agents Leon Rose, Steven Heumann and Ty Sullivan are representing him. He was formerly represented by Dan Fegan.

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


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