Happy Walters

Northwest Notes: Faried, Muhammad, Mirotic

While his days with the team have appeared numbered for a while now, Kenneth Faried‘s role with the Nuggets seems particularly tenuous now that he has failed to see action in 10 of the club’s past 12 games. A discussion piece at the Denver Post covers the Manimal’s future in Denver.

There are plenty of things that Faried does well when he’s active with the Nuggets. His energy level is contagious and he fares well in certain efficiency metrics given his ability to fill the stat sheet in limited minutes. Alas, defensive shortcomings, paired with the fact that Denver has plenty of other suitable forwards, have led to a lack of opportunity for the 28-year-old veteran.

A trade for Faried could be forthcoming, although such a revelation doesn’t exactly qualify as groundbreaking. Unfortunately for the Nuggets, Faried’s stock could be lower now than when he was first floated as a possible trade piece.

There’s more from the Northwest Division today:

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Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal (Twitter links), Miller’s clients have been told that their contracts with Miller are no longer in effect, allowing them to sign new deals with other certified NBA agents.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.

West Notes: Randle, Noel, Donovan

With all of the hype surrounding the Lakers these days, those who’ve overlooked Julius Randle can be forgiven. As Frank Urbina of Hoops Hype writes, however, the underrated big man could still be a viable component of Los Angeles’ intriguing young core.

While his effective field-goal percentage and value over replacement player figures have left much to be desired, the versatile forward is in position to take yet another leap forward in his third full season with the Lakers.

In 2016/17, Randle became just the ninth forward in NBA history to average 13.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, a testament to his playmaking ability and tendency to find his Lakers teammates.

What’s more, the Lakers big man has shown an impressive commitment to conditioning and has the Instagram account to prove it.

There’s more from the Western Conference:

  • We wrote yesterday that Nerlens Noel unexpectedly signed his qualifying offer with the Mavs after supposedly turning down a four-year, $70MM offer. At the time of the signing, ESPN’s Chris Haynes tweeted that the four-year deal was “non-existent.” Shortly after news broke, Noel’s former agent Happy Walters responded to the Haynes tweet, insisting that the deal was in fact extended and rejected, however that doesn’t necessarily mean that the offer was still on the table when Noel’s new representation, Rich Paul and Klutch Sports Group, took over in the negotiation process. For a breakdown of the process, check out Isaac Harris of The Smoking Cuban‘s recap.
  • Former Spurs guard Blake Ahearn has returned to the organization he spent his three-game career with as a head coach of the Spurs’ G League affiliate. Ahearn recently spoke with Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News and shed light on how much of an impact R.C. Buford and the team’s front office made on him.
  • Big man Steven Adams and his Thunder head coach, Billy Donovan, have spent time bonding in Adams’ native New Zealand, Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman writes. “For me, there’s an incredible power with a group of people that are connected in what they’re doing,” Donovan said. “I feel like my job, my role, my responsibility – whether it be during the season or in the offseason – is to try and create those connections. Because if we’re all unified, connected and moving in the right direction, it has a chance to be something really powerful.

Draft Notes: Simmons, Fultz, Fox, Evans

Kobi Simmons has declared for the draft and won’t return to Arizona, according to journalist Adam Zagoria (Twitter link).

“Kobi Simmons, with the support of his family, has decided to declare for the 2017 NBA Draft,” Wildcats coach Sean Miller said. “All of us here at Arizona thank him for his freshman season and wish him continued success as he pursues his professional career.”

The 6’5″ guard hired Aaron Turner of Verus Team Management to be his agent, Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com tweets. Goodman adds that Simmons will work out for teams as a point guard. Jonathan Givony of Draft Express has Simmons as the 67th best prospect in the draft.

Here’s more on the upcoming draft:

  • Markelle Fultz, who attended Tuesday’s Sixers game, wouldn’t mind playing for Philadelphia, Jordan Hall of Comcast Sportsnet relays. “I think it would be a great atmosphere, so it would be cool,” Fultz said of playing home games at the Sixers’ home arena. The former Washington guard, who said he believes he’ll be the first player to come off the board in June, added: “I always trust the process.”
  • De’Aaron Fox has chosen an agent. He’ll be represented by Happy Walters of Catalyst Sports, Givony reports (Twitter link).
  • Jawun Evans will be represented by ASM Sports, according to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). Chad Ford of ESPN.com ranks the Oklahoma State product 37th among this year’s prospect.
  • ASM has also signed Xavier’s Edmond Sumner and Clemson’s Jaron Blossomgame, Daniels reports (Twitter link).
  • Fred Sims of Chicago State has declared for the draft, Goodman reports (Twitter link). Sims is currently not ranked by Draft Express.

Jimmy Butler, Rudy Gay Changing Agencies?

2:47pm: Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders clarifies (via Twitter) that Butler has not changed his representation, though his agent has moved to a different agency. The Bulls forward will continue to be represented by Steve McCaskill, who now works for Catalyst Sports with Happy Walters.

11:50am: A pair of high-scoring forwards are making changes to their representation, according to Orazio Cauchi of Sportando. Sportando reports that Jimmy Butler has decided to leave Independent Sports & Entertainment, and that Rudy Gay has opted to leave Octagon Basketball.

Butler, a two-time All-Star for the Bulls remains under team control through the 2018/19 season, with a player option for 2019/20, so he won’t require an agent to negotiate a new contract for him anytime soon. As Cauchi observes, Butler’s agency change may be related to Happy Walters’ latest career move. Walters, who previously represented Butler at Relativity Sports, has launched a new agency called Catalyst Sports & Media, so the Bulls forward could end up with Catalyst.

As for Gay, his contract situation is a little more active than Butler’s at the moment — the Kings forward has already informed the team that he intends to opt out of his contract next summer after playing out the 2016/17 season. Gay has also frequently been cited as a trade candidate, so a new agent could attempt to help accommodate a trade out of Sacramento before negotiating a new contract for Gay in July.

Agent Happy Walters Leaves Relativity Sports

Prominent NBA agent Happy Walters has left Relativity Media and its Relativity Sports offshoot, Variety’s James Rainey reports. Walters represents John Wall, Jimmy Butler, Ty Lawson, Monta Ellis, Amar’e Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert and other notable NBA names. Billionaire and Relativity part-owner Ron Burkle, who was once a part of the bidding group that ultimately bought the Kings in 2013, will take over as chairman of Relativity Sports, tweets Liz Mullen of the SportsBusiness Journal.

Relativity was in the news this summer when DeAndre Jordan, then a client of Relativity agents Dan Fegan and Jarinn Akana, pulled his infamous flip-flop and re-signed with the Clippers after verbally committing to the Mavs. Jordan later let go of Fegan and Akana, and Austin Rivers, the son of Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers, did the same.

Several Walters clients made moves this offseason. Butler scored a new five-year deal worth more than $92MM with the Bulls, Ellis signed with the Pacers for nearly $44MM over four years, Shumpert re-upped with the Cavs on a four-year deal worth $40MM and Stoudemire joined the Heat for the minimum salary. Lawson gave up the guarantee on the final season of his contract to facilitate a trade to the Rockets, a move that could cast him into free agency this coming summer.

Walters is forming his own company, Rainey hears, though it’s unclear if all his clients will follow him. One of them, Maurice Harkless, faces a November 2nd deadline to sign a rookie scale extension, but the chances of an extension for Harkless, whom the Blazers acquired via trade this summer, have long seemed remote.

Ty Lawson, Others Leaving CAA

On the heels of LeBron James' decision to leave Creative Artists Agency to join Rich Paul's newly-formed Klutch Sports Group, a number of other CAA clients appear to be leaving the agency, according to ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst. Windhorst reports that Ty Lawson, Tristan Thompson, Eric Bledsoe, and Cory Joseph are among the players filing paperwork to leave CAA.

Thompson, Bledsoe, and Joseph were clients of Paul's at CAA, so it's not a surprise that they'll follow him to Klutch Sports, as Windhorst writes. However, Lawson wasn't a Paul client, and is expected to hire Happy Walters, according to Windhorst. We heard last week that Walters and Dan Fegan were forming a new agency called Relativity Sports.

While many of these players are a ways off from signing new deals, Lawson's representation could play a major part in contract negotiations this month. Lawson is eligible for an extension of up to five years if he re-ups with Denver before October 31st, and both he and Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri have expressed optimism that an agreement will be reached.

Odds & Ends: Blake, Seattle, Fegan, Millsap, Uzoh

According to the team's official website, Lakers guard Steve Blake suffered a puncture wound after stepping on a spike strip in a parking lot. The statement says Blake will be restricted from team activities for at least three weeks. Despite not being one of the bigger names on Los Angeles' roster, Blake's role as the team's veteran backup point guard is quite important, especially considering incoming starter Steve Nash's inability to log major minutes. 

Here are a few more Monday odds and ends from around the NBA: