2012 Free Agency: NBA Agents Who Are Cashing in This Summer
All hail David Falk, clear winner among agents in the 2012 free-agency frenzy. Though it will never get the Sports Illustrated cover-story treatment, Falk might be the comeback story of the year. He was once Michael Jordan's agent, but his star faded when MJ exited the league.
Over the years, Falk became known as a has-been, a blowhard who only skated by on nabbing the right free agent at the right time. This year, Falk put that to rest by accomplishing the seemingly impossible: He got Jeff Green a four-year, $36 million deal.
Jeff Green was a high draft pick and, by all accounts, a nice guy. He's also had a disappointing NBA career. From the Thunder to the Celtics, lineups involving Green have fared worse. This is no surprise, considering that he's an undersized power forward who struggles to shoot from distance.
Against a strong player, like Blake Griffin, Green can get backed down and smashed on. Against a swifter player, like LeBron James, Green can get left in the dust. He's a tweener, and although there could be a role for the 26 year-old Celtic, it hasn't emerged yet. He also just missed a season due to heart surgery.
Yes, somehow, someway, David Falk convinced the Boston Celtics to give the forward money just south of Rajon Rondo's deal. You'd better believe that other players will be seeking Falk's services based on this deal alone.
It wasn't just Green; Falk had another coup. Falk client Roy Hibbert had one "pretty good" 13-and-9 season, and had two (two!) teams offering a max contract this summer. Much as I like Hibbert, he's a plodder in a game that's getting increasingly faster. The Pacers have their reasons for retaining a lone frontcourt presence, but what was Portland's excuse? It has LaMarcus Aldridge already.
League, you've been warned. Other Falk clients like Greg Monroe and Evan Turner are about to cash in. Monroe's a lock for max, but don't sleep on Turner getting a Green-like deal.
I have not always been a fan of Bill Duffy's deal-making (see: aforementioned skimpy Rajon Rondo contract), but you have to hand it to him on this Steve Nash sign-and-trade. Nash was in a difficult situation. His preferred teams were over the cap and thus not able to sign him on the open market. The only way to get Nash to New York or Los Angeles was through a sign-and-trade, which required Phoenix's cooperation.
Duffy was able to cooperate with the Suns to send Nash to Los Angeles for the low price of low draft picks. Nash was also able to sign a deal approaching the $30 million he could claim on the open market. That's a combination of some savvy maneuvering by Duffy and some serious incompetence by Robert Sarver. Well done on one end, at least.
Mikhail Prokhorov is going to build the next addition on agent Arn Tellem's house. While Tellem likely had little to do with client Joe Johnson coming to New York, he had much to do with Brook Lopez's absurd max contract.
Brook is a seven-footer, but he has all of Hibbert's flaws without some of Roy's good qualities. Lopez is seven feet of post plodder without any defensive presence to speak of. Considering that big men have a disproportionate defensive responsibility, Lopez's contract is disproportionate.
The one free-agent loser (for now) is Dan Fegan. Dwight Howard remains in limbo in part because Fegan couldn't convince the center to avoid Orlando's extension offer last year. Had Howard refused, he would have been free to explore more options right now. Also, Brooklyn might have not squandered the No. 6 draft pick in pursuit of signing Gerald Wallace. Without that piece, all packages for Dwight's services are lacking.
Fegan is thought to be one of the best, and it's not his fault that his client acts so irrationally. So far, he's had a rough summer. Don't bet against him making it right by August.
All in all, agents may have lost due to the lockout, but quite a few are wringing all they can from the current situation.
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