Bart Taylor

And-Ones: Klutch, T. Young, Blazers, Jazz

Veteran NBA agent Omar Wilkes has left Octagon Sports and will become the head of basketball at Klutch Sports, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports that the move will create a path for Rich Paul to “expand his scope” as the company’s CEO. Although Paul will continue to work with Klutch’s basketball clients, the hiring of Wilkes will allow him to commit more time to the agency’s newer MLB and NFL divisions, Woj adds.

Wilkes’ most noteworthy client at Octagon, rising Hawks star Trae Young, has cut ties with the agency and appears likely to follow Wilkes to Klutch, writes Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Chris Kirschner of The Athletic cautions that CAA and Roc Nation have reached out as well, but says Young figures to end up with Klutch, since he and Wilkes are “incredibly close” (Twitter links).

Cam Reddish, OG Anunoby, and draft prospect Anthony Edwards were among Wilkes’ other clients at Octagon. It’s unclear whether they’ll remain at Octagon or stick with Wilkes as he makes the move to Klutch.

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

  • A pair of sports representation agencies – Tandem and You First – have merged, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski relays (via Twitter). Tandem president Jim Tanner will be the president of basketball for the merged firm, which will rebrand with a new name, tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. Between them, Tandem and You First represent a number of notable NBA players, including Ja Morant, Kristaps Porzingis, and Serge Ibaka.
  • The coronavirus pandemic is having an impact on the Trail Blazers‘ operations, according to Joe Freeman of The Oregonian, who reports that the team laid off about 40 employees – 15% of its workforce – and reduced salaries for anyone in a director role. The cuts affected multiple departments and also impacted the team’s arena management company, Rip City Management, per Freeman.
  • In an interesting piece for The Athletic, Seth Partnow makes a case against the 82-game season, suggesting that the NBA has an opportunity to experiment in 2020/21, with the season tentatively scheduled to start at least a month or two later than usual.
  • The Salt Lake City Stars took home a pair of NBA G League end-of-season awards, with Martin Schiller earning Coach of the Year honors and VP of basketball operations Bart Taylor named Basketball Executive of the Year. The Jazz‘ NBAGL affiliate finished the 2019/20 season with a 30-12 record, giving the Stars a comfortable hold on the No. 1 seed in the West.

Jazz Announce Coaching Staff Changes

The Jazz have finalized their coaching staff for the coming season and have also announced some changes to their basketball staff, the team announced in a pair of press releases. Most notably, assistant coach Igor Kokoskov has received a promotion to lead assistant in Utah, as he prepares for his second year with the club. Kokoskov previously served as an assistant for five other NBA teams, including a Pistons squad that won the 2004 NBA Finals.

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In other coaching staff moves, Zach Guthrie was elevated from manager of basketball strategy/technology to assistant coach/basketball strategy, while Lamar Skeeter was promoted from player development/video analyst to assistant coach/player development. Guthrie, Skeeter, and Kokoskov will join five other returning Jazz assistants on Quin Snyder‘s staff.

In the scouting department, Richard Smith was promoted to executive director of international scouting. Elsewhere in the front office, Bart Taylor was named the Jazz’s director of scouting and the VP of basketball operations for the D-League’s Salt Lake City Stars.

While Snyder is just 78-86 in his two years with the Jazz, the team heads into the 2016/17 season with increased expectations, having added some veteran talent to a young roster in the offseason. Although Utah missed the postseason this spring, many fans and observers expect the club to take a step forward and compete for a top-five seed in the Western Conference.