Headline International Basketball Sports Agents

Shalom, Jeremy Tyler

In the past year, I have had the pleasant opportunity of representing talented basketball players, finding them playing opportunities overseas, negotiating the terms of their contracts, making sure that they get overseas safely, continuing to monitor their progress, and staying in touch with them constantly through Skype.  I love the fact that there is a global market in the sport of basketball; it opens up a variety of opportunities for players who would be left working low paying jobs back in America if those leagues overseas did not exist.  Or if they are talented enough to play in the NBA’s D-League, most of them still would be making less than what they are bringing in overseas.  But the overseas game is not for everybody, especially those who are not mature enough to handle it, have a strong potential in the NBA, and are not aligned with the right people to take care and nurture them in their time in a foreign country.

Case in point: Jeremy Tyler.  Everyone was talking about Jeremy Tyler in April 2009.  Before that month, I had never even heard of the kid.  He saw what Brandon Jennings did by playing overseas instead of going to school for a year (Jennings was also ruled academically ineligible to play), and raised it by leaving high school a year early to go play for Maccabi Haifa.  Daring, trailblazing…stupid?  In hindsight, maybe.  I can’t say yes or no, but for right now I’ll go with yes, pretty stupid.

I wrote the following statement on April 29, 2009,

If you think college is a shock to someone who has grown up with his parents doing the laundry and cooking dinner, jumping overseas alone would have the potential of seriously threatening a young kid’s psyche.

Tyler wanted a high level of competition more than the amount of money he would get paid (supposedly).  Little did he know that the competition would actually be too high for him.  Sure, he could pull a Brandon Jennings (unsuccessful overseas, yet successful in the NBA), but Tyler is also different in Jennings in that Tyler could not even complete the terms of his overseas contract.  Last week, Tyler left Maccabi Haifa and came back to the United States.  He was through with playing in Israel.  I’m sure his average of 2.1 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 7.6 minutes will be sorely missed.

And then what about his agent?  Even if you didn’t know that Tyler was leaving Israel early to return home, can’t you at least play it off like you knew all along?  This was all a part of a larger strategy, no? No..

Tyler’s agent said he wasn’t aware of his client’s plans to leave the team.

“I’m as surprised as you are. We had no idea he was coming home,” Makhtar Ndiaye of the Wasserman Media Group told ESPN’s William Weinbaum. “I’m speechless at this point and look forward to speaking with Jeremy. A contract, a learning process — things weren’t great — but it was part of growing up. I’m disappointed and frustrated.”

Definitely not how I would have handled the media.  But to each his own.  The one thing that passage reminded me of is what Seth Davis said few months ago.

I did a triple take when I read that Tyler’s agents at Wasserman Media Group had the brilliant idea to send Makhtar Ndiaye, who is one of their agents, over to Israel to, as Thamel put it, “help [Tyler] focus.” Ndiaye, you may recall, is the former North Carolina forward who accused Utah freshman Britton Johnsen of calling him the N-word during the Tar Heels’ loss to the Utes at the 1998 Final Four. When the accusation rightly caused a major stir, Ndiaye was forced to admit he had totally made it up. Ndiaye played very briefly in the NBA and also spent some time in the NBDL, where he once drew a five-second call on an inbounds play because he was waving at a friend in the stands. This, my friends, is Jeremy Tyler’s lodestar.

Can Arn Tellem please come in for the rescue?

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.

10 replies on “Shalom, Jeremy Tyler”

Definitely not by claiming ignorance. I would say that I am well aware as to what went on. That while Jeremy did not have the type of season he had hoped for going over to play with Maccabi Haifa, he was able to grow as a person and gain skill on the court, which will be beneficial for teams in the future. That we are actively seeking future playing opportunities for Jeremy and that we are fully confident in his ability as a professional basketball player.

I also definitely wouldn’t say that I am speechless, disappointed, or frustrated.

Good post. I read in the San Diego Tribune that he fired Wasserman and that Bernie Lee is no longer working with Tyler. Also, if you had no idea what a client did, you would still claim to be fully aware of what happened? I like how you are looking out for your client’s best interests, but your response seems similar to that of Tiger – canned, vague, phony and not truthful. Chalking it up as a learning experience and exuding confidence are great and his agent was silly to say he was speechless – on that note, can you talk about Warren Legarie? Also, for basketball clients, can you let us know what type of negotiation goes into the contract? Are they paid monthly, more than $20,000 a month? An agent gets 10% right? What terms are negotiable? Good luck in the upcoming Drafts! Happy Passover.

I would not claim to be fully aware of what happened unless I were truly aware, but that said, how could reporters beat you to the punch? At least say “no comment.” What do you want me to say about Warren Legarie?

Typically, players overseas are paid monthly. Typically, a team pays the agent 10%. All terms are negotiable…it’s a contract.

Thanks…hopefully I get by without eating any bread.

Thanks. I appreciate you always responding to your readers. With Warren, I guess could you comment on the role of an agent – he spoke up in the media and it doesn’t seem like his client asked him to say those things – there was a great article on yahoo discussing the Blazers situation. More generally, when as an agent do you use the public? Also, did you see the Mauer press conference. I respect his advisor Mr. Shaprio, but why did he need to be up at the front and keep talking with hyperbole and not adding anything of real value. Take a back seat I would say if you are an agent, don’t need to be in the spotlight. For the terms, I mean specifically besides the compensation, give some examples – buyout clauses, termination provisions, housing, cars, etc. – transparency remember? 🙂 Thanks.

The role of an agent is to do everything possible (legal and ethical) to further the success of his clients. I will speak up in the media if it will somehow, someway benefit my client and not harm him in any way. As an agent you NEVER use the public. You work with the public. Agents come and go, the public eye is there forever. If you cheat the public once, they will end up kicking you out.

I did not see the Mauer press conference, but I have met Mr. Shapiro in the past. He is a talented negotiator. He did not have to add any value to the media’s discussion. His important discussion was with the Twins in their closed-door negotiations. He kept the media busy, which is fine.

Besides compensation, other terms like housing, car, incentives based on performance, flights, buyout clauses, agent fees, are all negotiable in an overseas contract.

I couldn’t agree more that the agent needs to offer a better quote to the reporter.

This situation is a disaster. Let’s hope Tyler is not another Leon Smith.

In a situation like this, I dont think the agent would be in the wrong for fabricating the fact that he knew entirely what was going on. It saves the agent and agency, and the media would never really find out. It’s doubtful that Tyler would go out of his way to come out with a statement to the media saying, “thats not true, my agent had no idea.”

I also think it’s different than Tiger’s statement in regards to the fact that everyone KNEW Tiger’s statement was untruthful, pre-written, and vague. If you were to give a response to the media about knowing Tyler was planning on returning home, how would they even hint at the fact that you weren’t being honest? There is no way of knowing.

Definitely agreed that his [former] agent was careless in how he handled the situation.

Funny you bring up Utah…did you see @Makhtar_4real Twitter to Jeremy Tyler? “@jeremy_tyler1: being honest is also a skill and a gift of GOD. Maybe all of us don’t have it”

Hilarious. Touch base if you get to Indianapolis next week, office is across the street from Lucas Oil.

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