John Wall has fired his agent Dan Fegan on Tuesday and opted to move on to Klutch Sports with Rich Paul. Wall will become Paul's 12th client on his roster and he'll be the second All-Star on the roster behind LeBron James.
Wall's switch comes at a time right before we're going to see the NBA's salary cap jump to reportedly as high as $90 million. Wall's firing Fegan sort of came out of nowhere, but alas, here we are. Wall has to wait 15 days before officially signing to Klutch Sports, according to Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group.
But why? The timing on this, in the middle of the NBA season, is simply just weird. Wall's in the midst of putting together what should be an All-Star campaign and is averaging nearly 20 points and 10 assists per game. Wall is a sneaker free agent with the chance to cash in on another sweet shoe deal.
So, this is all speculation on my part, but here are some potential reasons for Wall moving on.
Wall is unhappy with his current contract situation
Wall voiced his frustration this offseason with the money grabs that he saw players who were entering free agency begin to make.
Most notably, he voiced his opinion on Reggie Jackson getting the same 5 year, $80 million deal Wall received after his rookie contract was through. There isn't much that Fegan could have done about that. It was all about timing and Wall's deal ended at the wrong time. The Wizards wouldn't have allowed Wall to sign a short term deal when he originally signed the extension because they weren't going to allow him to hit the free agency pool.
But Wall isn't set to hit the free agency market for another three years, so this is highly unlikely. He may be unhappy with his current money, but there's really nothing he can do about
Wall noticed the fallout between Deandre Jordan and Dan Fegan
We all remember the Los Angeles Clippers holding Deandre Jordan hostage until he put ink to paper and signed back with them after originally verbally committing to the Dallas Mavericks. Although those were great, entertaining times with emoji battles for all of us, that does not necessarily ring true for Jordan, Fegan and the Mavs.
The fallout was ugly and reports seem to indicate Fegan talked Jordan into signing with Mark Cuban, one of Fegan's noted allies, and the Mavericks. Wall could feel that Fegan is more interested in helping friends rather than his own clients which seems to be what led to Jordan moving in another direction.
As an agent, clients should be the priority -- end of story. If Wall feels that he isn't, the right decision is to move on.
Wall is unhappy with his Adidas fallout
As the Washington Post's Jorge Castillo noted, Wall's shoe deal with Adidas expired at the end of September shortly after the company signed James Harden to a 13-year, $200 million deal. Wall is now currently a sneaker free agent and has been seen sporting Nike shoes on the court over the last few weeks.
There's a huge caveat here with Wall saying that the shoe deal had nothing to do with Fegan's firing and that he's open to returning to Adidas.
Wall addressed agent situation. Said he's happy to get it over with, shoe deal wasn't a factor, and he's open to returning to Adidas.— Jorge Castillo (@jorgeccastillo) January 13, 2016
It seems unlikely that Wall will return to Adidas despite releasing two signature sneakers with the company after Harden's signing with them. They've already got big money dumped into Derrick Rose and now James Harden will be their new lead athlete.
Wall was reportedly looking for a deal similar to Harden's, but that was never going to happen. However, it almost certainly played a part in why Wall turned down the original extension offer from Adidas.
It's also hard to believe that the shoe deal's mishandling had nothing to do with Fegan's firing, but of course, this is only speculation. Signing with Paul does not mean that the door is completely closed for Wall and Adidas.
But Paul has 11 clients, and just three of them are not part of the Nike sponsorship family. It seems more likely than ever now that Wall will end up with Nike or another company outside of Adidas, which is Nike's top rival.
But either way, Wall will have lots of ground to cover wherever he lands. He's already got clout with Adidas, but the roster is stacked. Let's break it down.
Notable Nike and Adidas Athletes:
|Notable Adidas Athletes||Notable Nike Athletes|
|James Harden||LeBron James|
|Damian Lillard||Kevin Durant|
|Dwight Howard||Kyrie Irving|
|Andrew Wiggins||Kobe Bryant|
|Derrick Rose||Anthony Davis|
|Kyle Lowry||Paul George|
|Nick Young||Lamarcus Aldridge|
|Jeff Teague||Chris Bosh|
Some other key notes:
- Kanye West is signed to Adidas and is their lead man with his Yeezy Season collection.
- Both sides have athletes in other sports who are more marketable than most NBA players. Serena Williams comes in mind with Nike and Lionel Messi with Adidas.
Wall could even sign with Jordan Brand, which is an affiliate of Nike. But that will stick him behind the likes of Russell Westbrook, who has taken over as the lead athlete for the brand behind Michael Jordan himself. The brand also includes Jimmy Butler, Chris Paul, Kawhi Leonard, Carmelo Anthony and Maya Moore.
Under Armour would make sense for Wall here because of it's proximity to Washington, D.C. with its base in Baltimore. But he'd be eternally trapped behind Stephen Curry as their top athlete but being second fiddle to Curry may not be so bad. Another brand like Li-Ning is an option with Dwyane Wade's career entering its final moments. Wall could easily move to that brand and take it over.
These brands have dozens of athletes and only a select few actually get signature shoes. Wall had clout with Adidas because he signed with Reebok in 2010. Reebok was purchased by Adidas in 2005 and Wall's contract was moved to Adidas in 2013. He had a specially design Crazy One Cherry Blossom edition shoe before he moved on to getting his own signature shoe.
What does that mean? It's tough to get a signature shoe. Anthony Davis and Paul George, despite being MVP candidates in recent years, still do not have signature shoe deals. Nike may have a slot opening up with Kobe's retirement coming soon, but should Wall join he still may not get a signature shoe.
For a new signature Wall shoe, his best bet might be to stay with Adidas or sign with a brand such as Under Amour or Li-Ning. These are brands looking to make their mark in the NBA and Under Armour swung for the fences with Kevin Durant. They've got Stephen Curry now, but having a Wall signature sneaker could do so much for the brand.
Nike is the safe bet here for where Wall goes with his next shoe deal with Paul already having so many of his clients sponsored by them as well as representing their biggest client in James. Either way, he'll have to climb the ladder if he wants another signature shoe, but that would be much easier at another brand that doesn't have control of so much of the basketball sneaker market.
This brings us to what may be the most logical reason Wall would leave.
Rich Paul only has 11 clients outside of Wall
Wall may be feeling neglected. Fegan is a superstar agent and his agency, Relativity Sports, continues to grow each and every year. They represent dozens of athletes across sports with branches in football, basketball and baseball.
Wall is currently 5th in All-Star voting behind Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, Dwyane Wade and Kyle Lowry. There has been no significant marketing push from the Wizards or Wall's representation to get him into the All-Star game. His Adidas deal fell through months ago and there seems to have been no movement on that front.
Paul only has 11 clients and with Wall, he'd have 12. The only All-Star Paul represents is LeBron James -- the next closest player is probably Eric Bledsoe. Then you have Tristan Thompson, and that's really it as far as notable players on his roster.
Fegan represents Dwight Howard, DeMarcus Cousins, Chandler Parsons and Ricky Rubio along with 36 other clients. Wall would easily get more attention from Klutch Sports and Paul and that may be important to him as he moves forward into his prime and the next part of his career.
It's a business and Wall knows that. He cannot negotiate another deal for now, but it doesn't hurt to position yourself to the best of your ability to do that in the future. And I think that's what he's doing here.
More details will come out as time passes, but for now just keep your eyes open for future opportunities with Washington's All-Star.