Pau Gasol has signed the Creative Artists Agency to represent him, the agency announced via Twitter. The news confirms that the likely soon-to-be free agent has left the Wasserman Media Group and agent Jason Ranne. Gasol and brother Marc Gasol had been looking for new representation following the departure of former Wasserman super agent Arn Tellem. Each of the Gasols was conducting his own search, so they weren’t necessarily a package deal, according to USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt, who reported that the pair were in the market for agents. It’s unclear whom Marc will choose.
The months ahead will be key for Pau, who turns 36 in July. He told Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago last month that he’s “very likely” to turn down his player option for next season, which is no surprise, since it’s worth only about $7.7MM. The Bulls big man remains nearly as productive as ever, and hitting free agency this summer will give him the chance to command major money, with the salary cap rising to a projected $89MM and relatively few impact players in the 2016 free agent class. He just narrowly missed a starting nod in this year’s All-Star Game, falling just 360 votes shy of the third and final frontcourt spot.
Chicago also gauged trade interest in Gasol at one point recently, according to Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher, though that was before Joakim Noah suffered a shoulder injury last week that’s knocked him out for four to six months. Agents don’t have quite as much influence on trades as they do on free agency, but they still have the power to steer their clients to favored destinations, especially when they’re on expiring contracts, as Gasol essentially is.
The Creative Artists Agency boasts a deep stable of clients, from established stars Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade to rookies Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell, the top two picks in the 2015 draft. CAA’s Leon Rose jointly represents Kevin Durant along with Roc Nation Sports. It’s not immediately clear which CAA representative will be the primary agent for Gasol. In any case, it’s ostensibly another tie between Gasol and the Knicks, where former Lakers coach Phil Jackson is team president, though New York’s once-cozy relationship with the agency hasn’t appeared quite as strong since Jackson took over.
Gasol has become the latest notable former Wasserman client to leave the agency, which has lost LaMarcus Aldridge, Jabari Parker, Danilo Gallinari and Joe Johnson, among others, since Tellem walked away to take a job in the Pistons organization.
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