The Pistons announced that they have hired prominent NBA agent Arn Tellem to a senior position. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports first reported that the two sides were finalizing a deal. Tellem, an industry veteran, has been crowned the vice chairman of Palace Sports and Entertainment. He is expected to join the organization on August 3 after transitioning his current responsibilities as Vice Chairman of Wasserman Media Group.
“Arn is one of the most accomplished and respected sports executives in the world,” owner Tom Gores said in a press release. “He has great passion, integrity and honesty, and he shares my belief that sports can be a catalyst for change in the community. He is an outstanding addition to our leadership team who will help us make a real difference in Detroit.”
The addition of Tellem will not affect the sovereignty of team president and coach Stan Van Gundy, who joined Detroit on a five-year, $35MM deal last year. Sources tell Woj that Tellem will answer directly to billionaire owner Tom Gores, but will not become the ultimate authority on basketball decisions. However, Gores is busy with other business ventures and it appears that Tellem will basically become the Pistons’ ownership face in Michigan.
Tellem’s deal with Gores could include an ownership stake, according to sources who spoke with Yahoo Sports. Meanwhile, Tellem will leave Wasserman Sports behind in a transition that should take place over the next few months. The agency has over 50 players and $300MM+ in player contracts on the books, including Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, Derrick Rose, as shown in the Hoops Rumors Agency Database. Some of the top free agents of the summer are also WMG clients, including Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Draymond Green.
In 2012, former agent Jason Levien helped Robert Pera assemble a group of investors to buy the Grizzlies and was appointed CEO of the team. His tenure came to a close in 2014 in a front office shakeup that saw the dismissal of assistant GM Stu Lash but did not affect another unorthodox hire in former ESPN scribe John Hollinger.