NBA Players Sports Agents

BJ Armstrong Loses His First Client

BJ ArmstrongBJ Armstrong has received a lot of love on this website.  The company that he works for received the #1 position on Jason Belzer’s Sports Agency Power Rankings, and Armstrong was featured in our most popular column, Interview with the Agent.  No doubt about it, BJ was put on the map as an agent by having the opportunity to represent Derrick Rose, the #1 overall pick in last year’s draft.  But his name amongst the agent community was bolstered by his other signings, including getting hired as the primary agent for Anthony Randolph, who ended up also being a lottery pick.  Unfortunately for BJ and the WMG team, Randolph has parted ways with Mr. Armstrong and is now looking for new representation.

The San Francisco Chronicle broke the story on February 1, that Randolph officially parted ways with BJ Armstrong.  Randolph was quoted as saying,

“My people and I decided it was the best for me.  B.J.’s a great agent, but we decided this was best.”

The league mandated cooling period requires that Randolph stay clear from signing with a new agent until February 12 (this Thursday).  In the wake of firing BJ, Randolph’s uncle stated that BJ did not bring enough fire and that whoever is selected as Anthony’s new agent will have to be very, very aggressive. BJ was advising Randolph to be patient in his first season with the Warriors, which is apparently the last thing that Randolph and his family wanted to hear.

A player has a right to fire his agent if he believes that the agent is not doing his due diligence to do anything and everything to help that player succeed.  Do you believe that Randolph made the right decision in this case?  Apparently he and his family had no personal qualms with BJ Armstrong.  It takes time for most rookies to develop.  What are your thoughts about firing an agent based on him not bringing enough fire?

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

18 replies on “BJ Armstrong Loses His First Client”

BJ has already made the money on the signing bonus and the first contract. If the guys wants to walk, let him walk. Sounds like another high maintence player that should be worrying about his performance not having his agent ask for playing time.

LOL – ok – but outside of the first round, sophmore signings and injuries everybody else is slotted.

Darren, I think if you go to meet with potential NBA draft picks, their parents or advisors are going to ask you about fees. I also think that it is naive to think that all agents who represent lottery picks do not charge these players a fee. These days, it is defnitely not the 4% allowed under the league rules (beacuse as you said most lottery picks get the 120%), but agents are most certainly charging a fee to help get money back for the training, travel, housing, officer materials, agent expenses, etc. during the duration of hte rookie scale contract. What BJ and WMG made money off of is Randolph’s shoe deal (probably 15% for every year) and possibly they had a retainer agreement with a set yearly fee? While there may not be negotiation involved, agents in basketball, just like in baseball, claim to have some sway and leverage in getting players drafted higher and that is why players would pay them a fee during their rookie scale deal. It’s gotta be tough for an agent like Elfus who must be worried sometimes that people are trying to steal Tyrus Thomas. Thanks.

I never said that agents do not ask from training, travel, housing, and other costs back. But that was not the conversation. It was Bobby’s comment, “BJ has already made the money on the signing bonus and the first contract.” Show me an agent who is taking a cut off of that contract. Shoe deal and other endorsements are beyond the contract the player signs with the team. The real problem for the contractual agent comes when a lottery pick hires a separate Marketing Agent. Then a guy like BJ makes no money and gets his expenses back. Is that worth it?

Darren, you are right. But, the fact is that the fee can be for those other things but it is just a simple way to tell a player, look we are not charging for your rookie scale deal. This sounds a lot better than trying to tell a player a 2% fee on a deal is justified to cover those expenses. Obivously, bobby is not too accurate to think that rookies get signing bonuses in basketball. So, agents do take cuts off of the first contract, it is just disguised in a way that makes their services more appealing to clients (and sometimes unsophisticated parents or advisors). Does this not make sense? I agree with you, but how much marketing is there for a guy like Randolph, and this isn’t at all trying to be mean, but I think for a guy like Rulon all the PR activities are just going to benenfit him getting pub for his NFL agent and not get his marketing agent any money unless he is a success in the league. Good luck and thanks for letting me comment.

I 100% agree that it is a way to justify “taking a cut off of a slotted K.” A marketing agent definitely helps out a contractual agent. That’s why I would prefer that Dynasty were Rulon’s K advisor and marketing advisor, but oh well. His new advisor will undoubtedly benefit from the work that we do to market Rulon up to and following the draft. The hope is that Rulon does well and earns himself and Dynasty $ in the future from the marketing side.

Major League Baseball has a recommended signing bonus based on what pick a player is drafted. 90% of the players that sign – sign for the recommended slot bonus.


Now you are changing your statement. Recommended signing bonuses are a new part of baseball. Recommended signing bonuses are very different than mandatory slotting values. There is still the possibility that an agent has his client sign for more than the recommended bonus in baseball. In basketball, that is not the case.

Personally, I don’t like Randolph’s move here. I feel that as a rookie it’s your job to lay low and not stir up any drama. Firing BJ for that reason can give off a high maintenance impression, and the last thing you want to do when establishing yourself in the league is earn a bad reputation. We all saw what happened with Joakim Noah last year for the little that he said. Maybe after you get your first season under your belt and still feel unsatisfied do you then consider different routes. He has to know that his time will come, I mean we haven’t even hit the All-Star break yet.

And Darren, props on doing work on your birthday!

I must say I love the conversations and posts when they have a great deal of discussion. On that note, I feel a post on A-fraud would gain a great amount of discussion, especially with the new interview just released on SportsCenter today.

Long live the Yankees! If we can’t buy a world series… well than we might as well cheat our way to one!

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