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Forget the Players, Coaches are Keeping their Agents Busy

Guest contribution by loyal reader and current Q2 intern, Michael Goldman.

While the NBA’s off-season is still about a week away (or less), the league has already seen some significant moves. However, these aren’t player trades or free agent signings, but rather a changing of the guard (no pun intended) in coaches. As usual, there are no new entries to this elite fraternity of NBA coaches, but it’s safe to say that several agents who represent coaches are enjoying the summer. Even though the NBA season is still in session, teams have signed new coaches (Dallas, Milwaukee, New York, Charlotte, and Phoenix, Chicago, Detroit). That doesn’t include newly promoted Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who took over the reins from Pat Riley after an atrocious season. These changes have already passed last years, when only seven organizations started the ’07-’08 season with new coaches. To be sure, as of now only eight new coaches will lead teams next year, but technically the season is still going on. Who knows what will happen between now and opening day?

I think we can assume that Avery Johnson will land somewhere, and perhaps Doug Collins who almost began his second stint as the Bulls’ head last week will find himself a head coaching job. Flip Saunders, Larry Krystkowiak, and Sam Vincent will also keep their agents looking for new opportunities after being let go by their former teams. What does this all mean? It means that being a coach’s agent could be just as fun as a player’s this off-season. Some assistant coaches will make moves, and possibly make the jump to become another team’s head coach. The first one was Vinny Del Negro with the Bulls. Mike D’antoni accepted an offer of $24 million for 6 years to take on the task of guiding the disastrous New York Knicks, becoming the third highest paid coach in the league behind Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich and Rick Carlisle signed a four-year deal in May to become the Dallas Mavericks new head coach. What do these two coaches have in common? They are both represented by Warren LeGarie, just one of several coaches’ agents who will have their hands full this summer trying to find their clients new jobs and competitive contracts. LeGarie was able to move D’antoni into the top three of highest paid NBA coaches, and get the Mavs to shell out more for Carlisle than they had for Avery Johnson. Other agents making moves recently include Joe Glass, agent of newly appointed Bobcats’ coach Larry Brown, and his son Keith Glass, agent of new Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles. Head coaches on the move also mean that many of their assistants may be changing scenery, keeping the agents of these assistants busy with plenty of new contract negotiations.

To be sure, this is not a year to sleep on the long list of free agents, which include Allen Iverson, Jermaine O’Neal, Gilbert Arenas, Ron Artest, and a multitude of veterans and rising stars…but make stay aware of the movements in the world of coaching. The agents of several head coaches and assistant coaches will be working around the clock to secure new deals and promotions. Coaches’ agents are a different breed from players’ agents, as the NBA Player’s Association prohibits player agents from representing coaches or anyone else holding a management position. Be sure to stay abreast of these important management changes throughout the league. Joe Torre made the move from New York to LA and is now featured in a State Farm commercial that uses the move. Perhaps Mike D’antoni can make a commercial about his move from Phoenix to New York, and there just might be an agent behind the creation of such a deal.

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.