18 year old Australian basketball star Dante Exum has decided to forego the college system and declare for the 2014 draft. According to DraftExpress’ mock draft, Dante is projected to go at pick 5, being the first guard taken.
After taking several meetings with agents in Melbourne this month, Dante has decided to sign with Rob Pelinka and Landmark Sports. According to HoopsHype, Landmark Sports currently has 16 players with contracts worth over $130 million this season alone in the NBA. Dante joins quite the esteemed company, with Rob also representing stars such as Kobe Bryant, James Harden and Eric Gordon. Overall, Landmark Sports has over $366 million in contracts negotiated till the end of the 2017 season.
If Exum is selected as the 5th overall pick, he will make a garaunteed $6.1 million over the first 2 years, with a potential maximum of $19.1 million if all team options are exercised.
At the time of writing, play is currently suspended on outside courts at the Australian Open. The temperature is over 40ºC. It has reached this level over the past few days but only now has the tournament decided to stop play.
Over the first 3 days of the tournament several players experienced distress due to the inclement weather. 32nd seed Ivan Dodigfeared he might die on the court, withdrawing from his match due to cramps. “I think we deserve that somebody listen to the voice of the players” he said, suggesting matches be halted between 1pm and 4pm. Andy Murray too voiced his concerns, claiming a player may have a heart attack in this weather. Canadian player Frank Dancevic expressed he was hallucinating in the searing conditions. These are just a few of the players who expressed discomfort. During extreme heat times, women’s matches had a 10 minute break between sets. This was not afforded to the men. On Tuesday, the crowd was down 15,000 people on last year, most certainly due to the extreme conditions.
As it stands at the moment, there is no players union for tennis players, but rather a system in which both professional tours are involved. For the Men’s ATP Tour, there are three player representatives (who don’t compete) on the seven member Board of Directors, meaning the balance of power is not with them. Under the Board, there is a 13 member ATP Player Council led by Roger Federer. However, the Board has the power to accept or reject the suggestions made by the Council.
On the Women’s WTA Tour, the situation is almost identical. There is an eight member Players’ Council, though they are still under the Board of Directors in the organizational structure.
It would be remiss to point out that the four Grand Slams are run by the International Tennis Federation and not the respective tours.
Talk of a Players’ Union has been discussed before. Former champion Andy Roddick had this to say on the issue to the New York Times in 2011:
“Tennis is a star-driven sport, and if we are going to be unified, all of our stars have to be on the same page,” said Roddick, a former No. 1-ranked player and the United States Open champion in 2003. He added: “Without a union, it’s tough for us to complain about anything. If we don’t unite, we have no one to blame but ourselves.”
The players have banded together to make an impact in the past. In 2012, there was talk of a boycott of the Australian Open, with demands of more prize money, in particular for the earlier rounds. This was successful. Players have spoken of other issues in the past, on points including a shorter season, and of course, weather.
The professionalism of tennis has hit a point where there is need for a true voice for the players. The amount of money involved in the game has risen astronomically, and like other industries, there is a need for a centralized union for players. They need a body that represents their best interests, without having to navigate through red tape and potential conflicts.
Players’ Associations have worked with great success in many other sports, so why should tennis be different?
That’s the opinion of Sports Direct News, who are suggesting a source close to Fulham has revealed that a couple of clubs have indicated interest. The 32 year-old Bulgarian striker’s contract expires at the end of the season, having been unsettled at Craven Cottage for some time. He has previously played for Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, the latter being sealed by a £30.75 million deal.
The number and names of the clubs remain a mystery. Dimitar Berbatov is likely to command a salary well in excess of $1 million dollars, meaning he will have to fill the international marquee spot. Based on this, the only team that can be ruled out is the Brisbane Roar, who have Thomas Broich as their marquee player signed for next season. Western Sydney Wanderers’ Shinji Ono has already expressed his desire to leave the side at the end of the season, while Sydney FC’s marquee Alessandro Del Piero has yet to decide on his future. Melbourne Victory defender Pablo Contreras will almost certainly be on his way out, as could Newcastle Jets striker Emile Heskey. Perth Glory and Melbourne Heart would be likely to keep their respective marquee players.
Based on wages, the two most likely teams that could afford to pay a player of Dimitar’s quality are Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC. While the source claims talks are in very early stages, it is an interesting development nonetheless.
Despite the hysteria of ‘Linsanity’ settling down, Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin is still very much in command. He has decided to switch from Nike to Adidas for his clothing and shoe contract. Adidas now have 78 NBA players on their books, including Derrick Rose and Ricky Rubio. Financial terms and contract length were not disclosed. The deal was struck after his Nike ended and they declined to match Adidas’ offer.
Part of the contract with Adidas is Jeremy Lin doing appearances in Asia. Being the first Asian-American in the NBA, Adidas see this area as a huge market for growth. They are currently ranked behind Nike in the Chinese sportswear market, but only marginally. Jeremy sees the international potential of his own brand, and while he won’t have his own shoe, he will be having an input on design.
Lin moved to Houston prior to last season on a 3 year, $25 million deal. This is due to expire at the end of the 2014-15 season.
Teddy Bridgewater, the Junior Quarterback from the Louisville Cardinals, only recently signaled his intention to forgo his Senior year and enter the NFL Draft. He is high on everyone’s mock draft boards, in most cases at number 1. With the Houston Texans in need of a QB, Teddy seems a perfect fit. He is coming off a dynamite season, throwing for over 3500 yards and leading his college to the 2013 Sugar Bowl.
Even though Bridgewater only signaled his desire to declare for the draft in the last day, word has spread that he has met with Jay-Z and Roc Nation about joining their agency. Jay-Z himself cannot negotiate the contract, but Roc Nation do have Kim Miale, a licensed NFL agent, on staff.