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Masai Ujiri and The Wasserman Group Players

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  • Masai Ujiri and The Wasserman Group Players

    Like most of you, I'm very excited for the NBA draft. I'm really looking forward to seeing who the raptors draft with the number 9 pick. There's lots of different theories on who we should pick and who's the best fit for the future.

    I recently read an ESPN article on the Mark Cuban-Deandre Jordan fiasco. It is widely believed that Deandre Jordan's agent (Dan Fegan) encouraged him to sign with Dallas due to Fegan's friendship with Mark Cuban. Some think that Cuban drafted one of Fegan's clients in the 2nd round last year (Satnam Singh) as a favour before free agency kicked off. It made me wonder if Masai Ujiri has a similar relationship with other NBA agents or firms.

    Yea, I know. I should go get my tin foil hat. But it's been 3 weeks since the raps were eliminated and another week until the draft so please hear me out.

    Last year, the Raptors drafted Delon Wright and Norman Powell. Both of them are represented by The Wasserman Group. Norman Powell was then given more guaranteed money than most 2nd round picks. A week after the draft, when free agency started, the raptors were surprisingly able to secure a meeting with Wasserman client Lamarcus Aldridge. This was after Demarre Carroll signed and I always wondered how Masai would have made it work if Aldridge decided to go with the Raps. JV and Ross weren't under big contracts then. Would they have traded Derozan or Lowry? Or maybe, just maybe---The Wasserman group returned the favour and leaked that Aldridge was impressed with Toronto's pitch as a thank you to Masai for a strong working relationship.

    Let's go back to Masai's days in Denver. Masai drafted Kenneth Faried, a Wasserman client. He traded for Jan Vesley, a Wasserman client. In one of Masai's most criticized moves, he awarded Javale McGee with a $44million contract. McGee is represented by BJ Armstrong of the Wasserman Group. After McGee's contract Ujiri probably felt like Armstrong owed him one the next time around. Well, BJ Armstrong represents Bismack Biyombo, who signed for what turned out to be the best bargain contract of the 2015-2016 NBA season.

    Obviously the NBA is a relationship business and strong relationships between GM's and agents are very important. Most of the above could be a coincidence, and Ujiri traded away Vasquez who was a Wasserman client too. But could the above give us a clue as to who the Raptors will draft this year? Of the top projected picks this year the only Wasserman clients I could find were Domantas Sabonis and Denzel Valentine. BJ Armstrong represents Valentine. If you hear one of those names called next week maybe it's because Masai is continuing to build a strong relationship with the Wasserman Group before free agency 2016. Who knows, maybe Wasserman returns the favour again and Biyombo accepts another discount.

  • #2
    I feel bad that this hasn't gotten a single response.

    Hi


    But it's interesting, they must have a good relationship. I'd be curious to see what vet role players are with them, we could use a couple.

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    • #3
      Very interesting.
      "Both teams played hard my man" - Sheed

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      • #4
        Yeah.. this makes a lot of sense and is a great idea for a thread.

        DraftExpress lists clients for a bunch of agencies. Here is the Wasserman group client list:
        http://www.draftexpress.com/agents/a...edia-Group-14/

        Motiejunas and Terrence Jones are both under the Wasserman group. Interesting...

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        • #5
          man, this mustve taken some crazy digging

          but nice find regardless. After hearing that kyser guy saying the "raptors guy at 9" is sabonis

          this could actually have legs
          I'm back. I no longer worship joe johnson

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          • #6
            Kyser said that? Where?

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            • #7
              Very interesting write-up, Rudy. This is some of the stuff that goes on that most of us don't even think about, but it's real and it's probably not that uncommon.

              In the case of the Raptors, it would be great to see things work out with Biz this summer, but I'm not holding my breath.

              Valentine is an interesting name, but given his knee concerns and his position, I can't see the Raps selecting him. If he were to fall to 27 then it wouldn't hurt too bad to take a chance, but there would have to be a trade in the works for some of our backcourt players.
              The Double Champ is here!
              Dynasty King: RRNBADLS7
              Raptors: Larry O'Brien

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              • #8
                I'm guessing we're selecting Domantas Sabonis
                Abbas wrote:

                First of all i was my own source

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                • #9
                  Great post Rudy. I don't know if it is tin foil hat territory or not, but I have certainly read over the years how important relationships are in the NBA (as in most other organizations). Masai does seem to actively work at cultivatiing relationships and he does seem to have strong connections throughout the league.

                  It will be interesting to see how this all turns out.

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                  • #10
                    Re-read the client list again... Al Horford is also a client.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks guys. The draft will be fun to watch to see if this has merit.
                      I don't see them taking Valentine with the 9 pick. But maybe they draft Sabonis and trade Ross for a pick in the late teens to take Valentine and free up room for Biyombo.

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                      • #12
                        This is nice stuff, Rudy B. Bob McCown was talking about how player agents pretty much run the NFL behind the scenes. Not sure how strong their power is in the NBA, but it's real and probably more significant than we realize.

                        We see stuff like Rich Paul openly using Lebron to exert his influence and Klutch Sports controlling media articles to put pressure on the franchises, like when Eric Bledsoe was going for his max contract and of course, TT's overpay. You saw Sam Hinkie get run out of Philly by the Colangeli, with a primary reason cited being his deteriorating relationship with player agents.

                        These guys are all about power and influence. It can be a shady business, with a lot of under the table palm-greasing and returning favors going on.

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                        • #13
                          yabadabayolo wrote: View Post
                          man, this mustve taken some crazy digging

                          but nice find regardless. After hearing that kyser guy saying the "raptors guy at 9" is sabonis

                          this could actually have legs
                          Could be a situation where the rumour is an assist to Sabonis' camp. As OP points out, that is often a way to strengthen the relationship with the agent/agency. Sabonis was not considered a surefire loterry pick, but since those rumours started it's now unlikely he slips out of the lottery. A team drafting at 12 or 13 might be more inclined to think they're "lucky" Sabonis fell to them since before this all started the teens(or even early 20s) were his expected range.

                          Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk

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                          • #14
                            planetmars wrote: View Post
                            Re-read the client list again... Al Horford is also a client.
                            The Horford dream is still alive!

                            Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk

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                            • #15
                              Nor sure about the theory here, but I'm fully on board with drafting Sabonis and bringing back Bismack!

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