Andy Miller

Atlantic Notes: Wright, Okafor, Whitehead

Nearly a month after dislocating his shoulder injury, Delon Wright will make his return to the Raptors lineup, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun tweets. Wright last saw action on November 16.

Prior to the injury, Wright had been enjoying a solid season serving as a vital part of a Raptors second-unit that has yielded plenty of credit this season. While his absence was noticeable, third-string guard Fred VanVleet filled in admirably as the primary backup.

Wright, who had averaged 7.6 points and 2.6 assists in just over 20 minutes per game this season, is expected to be on somewhat of a minute restriction, Josh Lewenberg of TSN tweets.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Tonight is the night that recent Nets acquisitions Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas make their debut, Michael Grange of Sportsnet tweets. The pair, he adds, are expected to get a “healthy dose of playing time” in their first Brooklyn appearance.
  • The Celtics will be without Marcus Morris for at least a week. Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe tweets that the forward who has missed four of the past five games with a lingering knee injury isn’t expected to be back until, perhaps, December 23 or Christmas Day.
  • Second-year Nets guard Isaiah Whitehead has changed his representation, Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal tweets. The point guard and former Andy Miller client will now be represented by Sam Permut of Roc Nation.
  • The Knicks have thrived without Carmelo Anthony on board but veteran guard Courtney Lee doesn’t think that his absence is why the team is winning. “If Melo was here, we would’ve made that adjustment with him,” he told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “So you can’t just pinpoint it at him and say, ‘Well he left and we made these adjustments.’ The style of play was going to be different from last year regardless.

And-Ones: A. Miller, Bennett, N. Robinson, Rookies

As we outlined earlier today, ASM Sports president Andy Miller has relinquished his certification as an agent after his agency was raided by the FBI as part of an investigation into college basketball corruption. Miller’s roster of NBA clients features a number of notable names, including some All-Stars, so what’s next for them?

According to Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal (Twitter links), Miller’s clients have been told that their contracts with Miller are no longer in effect, allowing them to sign new deals with other certified NBA agents. As Mullen notes, there’s usually a 15-day waiting period when a player changes agents, but that 15-day period is waived when an agent relinquishes his certification. As such, players like Kyle Lowry, Kristaps Porzingis, and Serge Ibaka will be free to hire new representation immediately.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Although he’s widely viewed as one of the biggest NBA draft busts of the last decade, former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett hasn’t given up on his efforts to get back into the league and make an impact. Bennett recently spoke to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders about his career and about playing in the G League.
  • Veteran NBA guard Nate Robinson is looking for an opportunity to return to the NBA, suggesting that a team like the Bulls could use him, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando details.
  • While Lonzo Ball and Markelle Fultz stole most of the pre-draft headlines, many of the stars of this year’s rookie class came off the board a little later. Alex Squadron of The New York Post examines some of the more unsung rookie standouts of the 2017/18 season, including John Collins (Hawks), Lauri Markkanen (Bulls), and OG Anunoby (Raptors).
  • Former Grizzlies guard Xavier Munford, who was in camp with the Bucks in October, has hired agents Happy Walters and George Langberg of Catalyst Sports for representation, tweets Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders. Munford has played well for Milwaukee’s G League affiliate this season, averaging 24.4 PPG and 5.3 APG with a .551/.641/.737 shooting line for the Wisconsin Herd.

Agent Andy Miller Relinquishes Certification

ASM Sports president Andy Miller, whose clients include Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Lowry, has relinquished his certification as an NBPA agent, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

That information was released in a memo issued by the players union.

ASM Sports has been connected to the FBI’s investigation into college basketball that revealed corruption, bribery and wire fraud at some of the nation’s top programs. The FBI raided Miller’s office in late September, seizing computers and documents connected to its investigation.

Miller has been a controversial figure among agents for years, with an associate comparing him to fictional mob boss Tony Soprano in a story last month by Pat Forde and Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports. He was ordered to pay $4.6MM in compensatory legal damages in 2002 for luring Kevin Garnett and some other top players from their former agent, Eric Fleisher.

“In order to get a search warrant, the federal agents were able to convince a federal judge that Miller’s computer was connected to either a criminal act or had evidence on it of a criminal act,” former federal prosecutor Stephen L. Hill told Forde.

Miller and ASM are also the target of a $13.5MM arbitration claim filed by Clippers center Willie Reed, who claims that former agent Christian Dawkins advised him to turn down a three-year, $15MM offer to re-sign with the Heat this summer. Reed wound up accepting a minimum-salary contract from L.A.

Other prominent ASM clients include Serge Ibaka, Jeff Teague, Timofey Mozgov, Austin Rivers, Alec Burks and Trevor Booker.

Despite no longer being certified, Miller will be legally permitted to collect the remaining fees from the contracts he negotiated, according to Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link).

And-Ones: Porter Jr., T. Jones, Bad Contracts

With top 2018 prospect Michael Porter Jr. expected to miss the rest of the college season as he recovers from back surgery, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony explores what the injury might mean for Porter’s draft stock. As Givony notes, Porter has been one of the most heavily scouted college freshmen in recent memory, which works in his favor — NBA teams have already evaluated the young forward extensively and formed opinions on him.

Additionally, with Missouri suggesting that Porter is expected to make a full recovery, the 19-year-old could be ready to work out for NBA teams in the spring, which could go a long way toward assuaging any fears that clubs might have about his health.

Back issues will always be handled with caution, and if next year’s draft were held today, Porter may not be a top-five pick. But multiple NBA general managers believe he’ll still land in the top five if his back checks out in June, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Former Rockets, Pelicans, and Bucks big man Terrence Jones is leaving the Qingdao Eagles, his team in China, after getting kicked out of practice, tweets international basketball reporter David Pick. Jones signed a contract with the Eagles in July, but he’ll be on the lookout for another opportunity as the new year approaches.
  • In an interesting piece for HoopsHype, Frank Urbina examines the most “untradable” contract for each NBA team. For some clubs, such as the Lakers (Luol Deng), Knicks (Joakim Noah), and Pelicans (Omer Asik), the choice is easy, but not every team has an obvious albatross on its books. For instance, Urbina’s pick for the Celtics is Al Horford‘s contract, based on its sheer size rather than on Horford’s performance, which has been excellent.
  • Pat Forde and Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports take a deep dive into NBA agent Andy Miller, whose ASM Sports agency has been connected to the FBI’s investigation into college basketball, exploring whether the scandal will impact the NBA.

New York Notes: Noah, Ntilikina, Zeller, Whitehead

The Knicks may finally be getting the version of Joakim Noah they thought they signed last summer, writes Howie Kussoy of The New York Post. After agreeing to a four-year, $72MM contract, Noah had a disastrous first season in New York, marked by poor play, a 20-game suspension for using a banned substance and a left knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery in February.

Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said Noah’s performance in training camp has been a pleasant surprise. “Coming off those injuries, literally, I’m shocked of how well he’s played just because I didn’t think he was gonna be ready this early,” Hornacek said. “I’m extremely happy with how he’s playing. He’s playing the right way. He sets great screens, he rolls hard, which opens up other things for guys if he doesn’t get it. He’s been finishing with driving layups. He’s been playing great. He wants to come back and show everybody what kind of player he is and he’s worked hard to do that over the summer.”

Noah still has 11 games left on his suspension, so he won’t be available until mid-November. Hornacek plans to use him on a limited basis in the preseason to make sure the knee is fully recovered.

There’s more news from New York:

  • First-round pick Frank Ntilikina has performed well enough in camp to convince Hornacek that he has a bright NBA future, Kussoy relays in a separate piece. The French point was drafted because former team president Phil Jackson liked his potential fit in the triangle offense, but Hornacek says he has adjusted well to the new, faster-paced approach. “The guys are already talking about him and the plays that he’s making,” Hornacek said. “When you have the respect of those older guys, you’re doing something right.”
  • Nets coach Kenny Atkinson is confident that his centers can exceed expectations, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn traded for Timofey Mozgov, drafted Jarrett Allen and signed Tyler Zeller over the summer to form a center by committee. Zeller, who had a productive year in 2014/15, can’t understand why the Celtics cut his playing time over the past two seasons before waiving him in July. “It was one of those things I was trying to figure out all year,” he said. “They had a great year, so I can’t say they made the wrong decision. But at the same time, I wish I was a part of it. I felt like I could’ve contributed more.”
  • Nets guard Isaiah Whitehead will keep Andy Miller as his agent, tweets Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog. Miller’s ASM agency has been tied to the college basketball scandal uncovered this week and is the target of a $13.5MM arbitration claim filed by Clippers center Willie Reed.

And-Ones: Pitino, ASM, Rosters, Delfino

After being linked to a federal investigation into fraud and corruption in recruiting, the University of Louisville has placed head coach Rick Pitino on administrative leave. Pitino, who is expected to formally be fired soon, has explored the idea of a return to the NBA in recent years, but there has been little interest and that’s unlikely to change, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

That federal investigation into the NCAA also affected player agency ASM Sports, where lead agent Andy Miller had his computer taken by the FBI, tweets Darren Heitner. Darren Rovell of ESPN confirms (via Twitter) that phone lines were shut off at the agency, which represents Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, Kristaps Porzingis, and many other NBA players.

Former ASM representative Christian Dawkins, who was fired from the agency for racking up more than $40,000 in Uber charges on an NBA player’s credit card, was among those accused of bribery and arrested on Tuesday. The FBI’s raid of ASM is believed to be a result of Dawkins’ former employment there.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Bobby Marks of ESPN breaks down the roster situations for every NBA team and examines some of they key preseason issues that each club will have to address.
  • Several NBA insiders provided Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer with some of their thoughts on how they’d improve the league. Among the suggestions? Getting rid of two-way contracts, removing live-ball timeouts, and eliminating the age limit for the NBA draft.
  • Former NBA forward Carlos Delfino will begin the season with Baskonia in Spain, as Orazio Cauchi of Sportando details. Delfino, who appeared in more than 500 regular season games, last played in the NBA for the Rockets in 2012/13.

Sixers Big Man Nerlens Noel Changes Agents

Sixers center Nerlens Noel has parted ways with agent Andy Miller of ASM Sports and is expected to sign with Dan Fegan, multiple sources told Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link).

The timing of Noel’s decision to switch agents is intriguing. Noel can become a restricted free agent this summer if the Sixers, as expected, extend his qualifying offer of approximately $5.85MM.

He has expressed reservations about Philadelphia’s frontcourt logjam with fellow lottery picks Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid, among others, also fighting for playing time at the power positions.

This could be a signal that Noel will push harder for a trade, or he might simply feel Fegan will negotiate a better deal for him over the summer.

As Luke Adams detailed in our Trade Candidate series, there have been rumblings about Noel’s desire to be dealt. Both Marc Stein of ESPN.com and Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders have reported that Noel would prefer to be moved.

According to recent tweets by Kyler, all indications are that Noel wants to be traded this season, and the Sixers will do everything they can to accommodate him (Twitter links).

Philadelphia’s Big Three could all be available for the first time against the Lakers on Friday. Coach Brett Brown declared that he can successfully juggle their playing time if they make sacrifices. However, it’s generally assumed the Sixers will eventually deal one of them. Mike Sielski of the Philadelphia Inquirer opined this week that Okafor will likely be the odd man out because his skill set doesn’t mesh with either Noel or Embiid.

Noel made his season debut on Sunday after undergoing knee surgery during training camp, playing 10 minutes against the Pistons. He missed the Sixers’ game against the Raptors on Wednesday with an ankle injury.

Chris Bosh, Josh Huestis Hire New Agents

Heat big man Chris Bosh and Thunder forward Josh Huestis each have new representation, according to various reports. Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal reports (via Twitter) that Bosh has signed with Rob Pelinka of Landmark Sports Agency, while Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune tweets that Huestis has hired Andy Miller of ASM Sports.

Bosh, who was previously represented by CAA Sports, parted ways with his previous agent earlier this year. The change for Bosh came around the same time that he and the Heat were at odds over his situation in Miami, with the veteran power forward still eager to continue his playing career while the team ruled him out due to blood-clotting concerns that arose during his preseason physical.

Bosh and the Heat reportedly haven’t had much – if any – contact over the last few months, so Pelinka will be tasked with handling that situation as it develops. The Heat are widely expected to waive Bosh later in the 2016/17 league year, assuming the team can get cap relief from the move.

As for Huestis, he was previously represented by Toby Bailey and Mitchell Butler, who played a part in the decision to have their client play a year in the D-League after he was selected in the first round of the 2014 draft by the Thunder. While that was an unprecedented move, there’s no indication that it’s the reason for Huestis’ change in representation.

The Thunder recently exercised their third-year option on Huestis for the 2017/18 season, so he has a guaranteed salary for the next two seasons, and remains under contract for one more team option in 2018/19. If that option is exercised, he’ll be eligible for restricted free agency in 2019.

Atlantic Notes: Ainge, Colangelo, Draft

The Celtics would at least debate the idea of trading the pick Brooklyn owes them even if it winds up No. 1 after the lottery, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in an appearance on ESPN2 Thursday, notes Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com. Still, Ainge knows he can’t over-reach and burn the team’s assets, as Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald relays. “I understand that,” Ainge said. “Look, we just want to spend our capital wisely. That’s all I’m saying. And we’ll try to do that. But sometimes you have to wait and you can’t do it when you want to do it. But we wanted to do it last [offseason]. We wanted to do it at the trade deadline. And now this summer, we want to do it. And I feel like the summer’s a better time than [the] trade deadline to do it, so I’m optimistic and I’m hopeful.”

See more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo expressed a willingness to consider trading a top-five pick if the team ends up with two, as Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com observes following his conversation with the new team exec. Philadelphia, which has a 26.9% chance of landing the No. 1 pick, also gets the Lakers pick if it falls out of the top three. “I think you should always be a little proactive, just in determining what your best course of action is,” Colangelo said. “You don’t want to leave anything on the table. If there was an opportunity to do something and you didn’t know that or realize it because you didn’t make a phone call, then that’s your fault. But I think we’ll explore everything in every regard, and that’s the good news about having the kind of flexibility and the number of assets that we have.”
  • Maryland small forward Jake Layman and Louisville center Chinanu Onuaku will work out for the Celtics, notes A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com (Twitter link).
  • The Sixers interviewed Syracuse’s Malachi Richardson and Kentucky’s Tyler Ulis, and Ulis plans to work out for Philadelphia, too, as Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com relays (Twitter links). Oregon State’s Gary Payton II is also on the Sixers interview list, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Regardless of whether a reported four-year, $4.5MM offer is in the works, the Knicks want draft-and-stash prospect Guillermo Hernangomez on their roster next season, reports international journalist David Pick (Twitter link). Agent Andy Miller dismissed the report of the offer, though New York can’t formally present a contract to Hernangomez until July.

Southeast Notes: Porzingis, Wade, Wizards, Magic

The Magic were determined to land Kristaps Porzingis in the 2014 draft and GM Rob Hennigan promised to take him with the No. 10 pick if he stayed in the draft that year, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. Instead, he withdrew, and as he prepared for the 2015 draft, the Magic realized he wouldn’t slip past fourth, even though the Knicks had talks about swapping the No. 4 pick for a wing player and another first-rounder up until the day of the draft, Wojnarowski adds.

“Rob had a thorough, comprehensive plan,” Miller said to Wojnarowski. “He had invested as much, or more time, into Kristaps as anyone in the league. He really studied him. They had a plan for supplemental training, development. It wasn’t just, ‘Let’s just draft him and see what happens.’ This was a plan. Kristaps knew the plan and just wasn’t ready.”

Porzingis would have had the Magic’s blessing to remain overseas for a year had they drafted him in 2014, but as the 2015 draft approached, Porzingis’ camp wanted him to end up with the Knicks, as the Yahoo scribe details. Agent Andy Miller withheld him from working out or taking a physical for the Sixers, who had pick No. 3, Wojnarowski notes. The Magic wound up drafting Mario Hezonja with the fifth pick. See more from the Southeast Division.

  • Pat Riley said LeBron James never asked him to fire Erik Spoelstra, as previously rumored, as Ethan Skolnick of the Miami Herald relays, rounding up comments the Heat team president made Thursday. Riley also said he’s proud of Dwyane Wade for “how he has come back and changed the narrative about himself and worked on his body,” Skolnick notes. Wade hits free agency again this summer.
  • A third straight loss that dropped the Wizards to 20-24 prompted a players-only meeting Thursday, as J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic details. Jared Dudley, referring to himself as the spokesperson for the team, implicated the coaching staff in his comments following the meeting, as well as a return to a lineup featuring both Marcin Gortat and soon-to-be free agent Nene, who’s been marginalized most of this season. “The flow has been terrible for us these last couple games. That’s something that players and coaches have to do a better job,” Dudley said. “At times it’s good to play Nene and Gortat together. … What team are we trying to be here? We can’t keep coming into this locker room talking about inconsistency because April 15 [when the regular season ends] we’ll all be back at the crib.”
  • Hennigan last week cited the youthfulness of the Magic roster for the team’s struggles of late, but the team’s players said before the season that wouldn’t be an excuse, observes Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. The Magic, tied with the Wizards at 20-24, have evoked memories of last season’s 25-57 disappointment as they’ve lost 11 of their last 12 games, and it indicates little progress under new coach Scott Skiles, who faces a challenge to turn the season around, Schmitz writes.