Three months ago, Andy Miller was one of basketball’s most prominent agents — a hard-charging power broker with nearly 50 current and former NBA players and multiple former All-Stars on his client list, a rainmaker who had negotiated more than $1 billion in NBA contracts. Now, he’s “effectively out of business,” as the FBI’s probe into corruption in college basketball, and specifically the practices of coaches, sneaker executives, agents and financial advisers bribing amateur players, continues to reverberate throughout the basketball world.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday that the National Basketball Players Association, the union representing NBA players, had sent out a memo to its membership about Miller, the founder and president of ASM Sports. The gist: the man who once represented Kevin Garnett and Chauncey Billups has “relinquished his NBPA agent certification.”
Miller himself will no longer be allowed to represent the likes of:
• Raptors big man Serge Ibaka, for whom he negotiated a three-year, $65 million deal in July;
• Dwight Howard of the Charlotte Hornets, whom Miller got a three-year, $70.5 million contract in the summer of 2016; or
• A pair of young big men, Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks and Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers, who will be eligible for extensions of their rookie contracts this summer, and who are both likely to command full-term maximum-salaried pacts that will make them cornerstones of their current teams.
But “many of his former clients are expected to remain with other agents in the company,” according to Wojnarowski.
Other Miller clients currently working with NBA teams include Malik Beasley of the Denver Nuggets; Trevor Booker, Timofey Mozgov and Isaiah Whitehead of the Brooklyn Nets; Alec Burks of the Utah Jazz; Austin Rivers, Jawun Evans and Brice Johnson of the Los Angeles Clippers; Willy Hernangomez and Kyle O’Quinn of the Knicks; Josh Huestis of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Jarell Martin of the Memphis Grizzlies; Marreese Speights of the Orlando Magic; and Fred VanVleet of the Raptors.
Miller’s fall comes 2 1/2 months after the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York indicted 10 men — including four active assistant coaches at major NCAA universities, a high-ranking Adidas executive, and former ASM staffer Christian Dawkins — for their roles in perpetuating and profiting from a system of under-the-table payments aimed at steering top high school players to specific schools, apparel sponsors and professional representatives. The resultant scandal ended the tenures of Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich at Louisville.
It cost ASM multiple NBA clients, including Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Justin Patton and Los Angeles Clippers center WillieReed, though, as Wojnarowski noted, none of Miller’s most prominent clients have defected from the agency.
“I have a lot of confidence in Andy Miller,” the Pacers’ Turner told the Indianapolis Star in late September. “[ … ] I talk to [Miller] every day. Keeping me updated on everything. Telling me you’re going [to] hear stuff. People are going to want me to go here. People are going to want me to jump ship, but Andy’s my guy, man. I’m not going nowhere.”
The FBI probe prompted NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts to direct the union’s general counsel to “determine if any of the named defendants” in the case “have relationships with NBA players.”
“We are going to be rigorous in making sure that anybody who is engaged in this misconduct is out, at least in terms of being certified by this [players association] to continue to work with our players,” Roberts told Chris Mannix of The Vertical in September. “[ … ] “Agents we scrutinize much more thoroughly because we do have the power to allow or disallow them to represent our players. Agents understand that if there is an issue, we will hold them directly responsible for the referral.”
It also cost Miller his computer, which federal agents seized from the ASM offices on the same day they made their arrests in the probe. Miller himself wasn’t arrested, but that seizure — followed by FBI assistant director William Sweeney saying, “We have your playbook” — raised a lot of eyebrows.
“Andy Miller’s computer has got to be interesting,” a head coach at a perennial Top 25 college program told Pat Forde and Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports last month as part of an in-depth look at Miller’s rise and fall. “He has lived on the edge for a long time. He has some [expletive] on a lot of people.”
Whatever comes next for Miller, his now-former clients and ASM, it seems likely that this isn’t the last we’ll hear of his involvement in this story.
“[Miller’s] burned a lot of people,” an anonymous “industry veteran” told Forbes’ Darren Heitner after the FBI paid Miller a visit. “[He] deserves every bit of whatever’s coming his way.”
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