Feb 2, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Orlando Magic guard Ish Smith (10) shoots as Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings (3) reaches from behind during the second quarter at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Jennings' New Agent Likes Big Market NBA Cities

Brandon Jennings continues to do homework in anticipation of his upcoming restricted free agency.  His main subject of choice: big/bigger/biggest NBA markets.

The news started to leak out earlier this morning with a few tweets from Sports Business Journal writer Liz Mullen and the accompanying quotes from a statement from Jennings’ former agent, Bill Duffy.

Then Jennings himself essentially confirmed the move when he thanked his former agent:

So (at least publicly) the move was followed by a complete lovefest. Why switch then?

Ken Berger of CBSSports later reported that Jennings’ new agent will be Jeff Schwartz, who runs Excel Sports Management.  Schwartz also represents Deron Williams, Paul Pierce, and Blake Griffin.  According to Berger, Schwartz is “a noted proponent of the added endorsement income and opportunities that the NBA’s largest cities can provide.”

An NBA rule mandates that Jennings wait ten days before signing with a new agent.

Berger would be the one to know about those leanings toward big markets.  In an interview for a story last year surrounding Dwight Howard’s situation, Schwartz remarked to Berger on the impact that being near New York had on Deron Williams.

“In the last eight or nine months, Deron has signed national deals with Audi, Red Bull and Metro PCS,” said Williams’ agent, Jeff Schwartz. “He’s also done a number of regional deals with other companies. Being in a larger market, there’s always more opportunities, and coupled with the fact that the Nets are moving to Brooklyn, there’s going to be a lot of corporate interest in both the team and its star players.”

Though Schwartz declined to quantify Williams’ financial windfall from the new deals he’s received since getting traded to the Nets, there are really two reasons behind the additional exposure: market size and his decision to break ties with his longtime agent, Bob McLaren, and sign with Schwartz, whose New York-based Excel Sports Management has a well-oiled marketing and promotional wing. The operation has offices in Los Angeles, but Schwartz — whose NBA client list is second only to Arn Tellem’s with $171 million in player salaries under his umbrella — moved the headquarters to New York because that’s where the corporate dollars and connections reside.

If Jennings isn’t planning a move to a big market, he is — at the very least — doing a good job playing poker to make it appear as if he wants to.  He has pulled off an amicable split with his old agent, joined forces with a power broker with a noted preference for big markets, and done it in time so that he will be linked with his new agent a full week before the NBA’s February 21 trade deadline.

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