I have been hearing these whispers for more than a week, and Darren Rovell of CNBC has apparently heard the exact same thing -- Derrick Rose is reportedly about to sign with Arn Tellem's Wasserman Media Group:
Tellem, who is already representing the Lopez brothers from Stanford as well as Anthony Randolph from LSU, didn't return a call seeking comment.
This was a shock because Derrick Rose was so connected to William Wesley, who had steered clients towards Leon Rose, agent of LeBron James and Allen Iverson.
Turns out that although Wesley is well connected to Derrick Rose, his brother Reggie Rose was still running the show. So the assumption that there was a deal in place the entire time, that Wesley's connection with Derrick and friendship with Memphis coach John Calipari would yield a contract with Leon Rose and his Creative Artists Agency, was actually a faulty assumption.
According to these sources, Reggie Rose didn't let that happen. After the season was over, Reggie reopened negotiations with agents and eventually was leaning towards Tellem after believing that Tellem would make his brother the most most money in the end.
The new kid on the block at Wasserman Media Group is none other than three-time champion B.J. Armstrong. It will be interesting to see if Armstrong pops up as a key figure in handling the new recruits.
As far as Wesley's role in all this, it's a little unclear. Wesley's main role, according to his critics, is to steer players to Leon Rose. This would seem to poke a hole in that theory; Rose could hardly be getting rich off Memphis players. Besides Wesley and Rose's lifelong friend Dajuan Wagner, no Memphis players of consequence, that I'm aware of, have signed with Rose.
No one questions the depths of Wesley's connections to Memphis. He has long been tight with Coach John Calipari. And many have pointed out that the best Tigers come from places like Michigan (Chris Douglas-Roberts) and Chicago (Derrick Rose) where Wesley lives and is most active.
So the question is: is Wesley (UPDATE: who reportedly sat with Reggie Rose at the Final Four just last week and has reportedly been close to the Rose family for years) just not very good at directing players to Rose? Or is steering players to Rose not, as advertised, Wesley's top priority?
UPDATE: Many are shocked to hear that Tellem could be the choice. If Tellem does get the call, I can't say it'll be totally out of left field. Remember back when Derrick Rose was in high school, there was a lot of hubbub about the college recruiting process? (For instance. And this.) The final five schools on Derrick Rose's list were all Adidas schools, and the man explaining the recruiting party to the media was long-time sneaker king Sonny Vaccaro -- who worked for Reebok which has been owned by Adidas since 2005.
Writing in the Chicago Sun-Times (you can read it here) last summer, Michael O'Brien wrote: "It's obvious Vaccaro has become a significant influence on Rose's recruitment."
That's poignant now, because Vaccaro has long been open about having a close relationship with Arn Tellem.