Hip-hop heavyweight, entrepreneur and multimedia mogul Jay-Z is on the verge of signing Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant to his new sports agency, a source told ESPN Friday night.
According to the source, Durant will move from the Landmark Sports Agency to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports firm, seeking to take advantage of the potential branding opportunities inherent in working with Jay-Z’s new venture. In 2010, Durant signed an $85 million contract with Oklahoma City that will last through the 2015-16 season.
“KD doesn’t want a traditional NBA agent anymore,” a league source told Yahoo Sports. “He wants Jay-Z to handle his branding. ... He had a chance to be with his idol and couldn’t say no.”
The frenzy began late Friday, after Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal broke the news on Twitter:
Kevin Durant is leaving Landmark Sports. Sources expect him to join Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports.
— Liz Mullen (@SBJLizMullen) June 8, 2013
However, nothing has been confirmed, and a representative of Roc Nation Sports told ESPN that Durant is not currently a client.
Meanwhile, Landmark Sports, having enjoyed a lucrative relationship with Durant, scoring Nike, Sprint, Gatorade, Skullcandy and other endorsements for him, has confirmed the NBA star’s departure from the organization.
“We are honored and blessed to have worked on behalf of Kevin, for a brief period of time,” Landmark Sports’ Rob Pelinka said. “He is an amazing person and athlete, and we are proud of our work and service towards advancing his brand in a manner that reflects the mutual qualities we share with Kevin. We wish him nothing but success in his future endeavors.”
If the news is indeed true, the signing would be a huge coup for Roc Nation Sports, which already represents New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith and Tulsa Shock guard Skylar Diggins.
Its clout will only increase with the signing of Durant, one of the NBA’s most prolific scorers.
As previously reported, Jay-Z is selling his minority ownership stake in the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, which amounted to less than 1 percent of the team, to launch Roc Nation Sports. League rules dictate that Jay-Z sell his stake in the Nets if he wants to represent basketball players on other teams.