Joe Johnson has split with the Wasserman Media Group amid the departure of longtime agent Arn Tellem and has joined forces with Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports Management, a source tells NetsDaily (Twitter links). Johnson, set for free agency next summer, had felt a kinship with Tellem, as NetsDaily notes, and had been with him since he entered the 2001 draft. Tellem changed careers this summer to become an executive with the Pistons organization.
LaMarcus Aldridge made the same Wasserman-to-Excel move after signing his new four-year max deal with the Spurs this summer, but losing Johnson figures to have a greater short-term pinch on Wasserman, since Aldridge’s commission still goes to them. Excel is in line for the percentage, usually 3%, associated with negotiating Johnson’s next deal.
Tellem secured a six-year max contract worth more than $123.658MM for Johnson in 2010, a deal hailed even then, when Johnson was coming off five straight seasons of having averaged 20-plus points per game, as a decidedly player-friendly arrangement. His scoring average hasn’t eclipsed 18.8 PPG since, but the 34-year-old still remains a productive player, having been the second-leading scorer for Brooklyn this past season while pulling down 4.8 rebounds per contest, more than he had in 10 years.
Schwartz is no stranger to the Nets or prominent NBA clients. He represents Jarrett Jack and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and he was also the agent for former Nets coach Jason Kidd, as NetsDaily points out (on Twitter). Ex-Nets Deron Williams and Paul Pierce are Schwartz clients, as are Al Jefferson and Brandon Jennings, two other veterans for whom the agent is in line to negotiate next summer.
The move puts one more step of distance between the Pistons and Johnson after a report close to the trade deadline indicated that Detroit had engaged the Nets in trade talks about the veteran scorer. Johnson, given his salary of nearly $24.895MM this season and Brooklyn’s ability to escape the luxury tax with other moves, appears likely to stay put this year.
What do you think Johnson will make on a new deal next summer? Leave a comment to tell us.