SBJ/October 16-22, 2017/Labor and Agents

Wasserman’s recent NBA contracts, shoe deals top $600M

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asserman NBA agents completed more than half a billion dollars in playing contracts and shoe deals for clients in recent months.

That number includes about $250 million in shoe contracts, including Phoenix Suns rookie forward Josh Jackson’s deal with Under Armour, which was announced before he was taken No. 4 in the draft.

Also included: Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson’s 10-year deal with Anta announced in June and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook’s 10-year extension with the Jordan Brand announced in September.

Wasserman provided the $250 million figure for shoe endorsement deals to SportsBusiness Journal but would not break out dollar figures for specific player deals.

Wasserman’s basketball group, including agents Thad Foucher, B.J. Armstrong, Darren Matsubara and Greg Lawrence and the agency’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, Jason Ranne, negotiated the deals.

Russell Westbrook’s extensions with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Jordan Brand were announced last month.
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Armstrong represented Jackson, and Lawrence represented Thompson. Foucher represented Westbrook in his shoe deal extension as well as in his $205 million, five-year playing contract extension with the Thunder, also announced in September. The move came after the Thunder traded for 10-time All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony and four-time All-Star forward Paul George.

After many of the big NBA free agency deals were completed, Wasserman had done 11 deals worth $134.9 million. But late summer and early fall deals and extensions pushed Wasserman’s total last week to $383.7 million for 15 deals. In addition to Westbrook’s big extension, Foucher also negotiated forward/guard Norman Powell’s four-year, $42 million extension with the Toronto Raptors.

Westbrook signed the five-year supermax deal under the new designated player rule in the NBA collective-bargaining agreement, agreed to in December 2016. The rule allows star players who have been with their original team to agree to five-year deals valued at 35 percent of the cap, after seven to nine years in the league. Extensions had been limited to four years at 30 percent of the cap.

The designated player rule is available to league MVPs, All-NBA team winners and defensive players of the year. Westbrook, a six-time All-Star, was named league MVP in June.

Westbrook’s extension also includes a player option in the last year of the deal, the 2022-23 season, when he will be 33. Westbrook would have been a free agent in the summer of 2018 had he not signed the extension.

> MLBPA ADDS FORMER PROSECUTOR: The MLB Players Association has hired former assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Perconte as assistant general counsel, one of several changes to the union’s legal department in recent months.

Perconte will report to MLBPA General Counsel Ian Penny. Penny was named general counsel in June, replacing Dave Prouty, who is continuing to work with the MLBPA as outside counsel.

Before joining the MLBPA in 2010, Penny had worked at the NHL Players’ Association for 10 years, including two years as general counsel of the hockey union. Also in June, the MLBPA promoted Matthew Nussbaum from assistant general counsel to deputy general counsel.

Perconte joins the MLBPA after spending six years as a federal prosecutor in Chicago, as well as working as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan. He practiced in the private sector at Winston & Strawn and Drinker Biddle & Reath.

> CATALYST SIGNS SMART: Catalyst Sports & Media has signed Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart.

Happy Walters is representing Smart. He was formerly represented by Josh Ketroser.

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


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