RaptorsHQ Talks to Darren Heitner of Sports Agent Blog.com

With workouts set to resume today, RaptorsHQ continues their draft coverage by looking at things from an agent's point of view.  To that end, Franchise goes one-on-one with Darren Heitner, CEO of Dynasty Athlete Representation and Publisher of Sportsagentblog.com...

All quiet on the NBA Draft front?

It seems to be that case a bit although by the end of this week, I think the rumours will be flying and fans will have a pretty good idea of who Toronto's final draft options are.

As per reports via Doug Smith, confirming our speculations from about a week ago, the Raps are going to be hoping certain players fall to them at 13, and if not, then they'll simply grab the best guy available.  We've since updated our draft board to reflect this with a full breakdown to come after today's workouts.

Right now we've got folks like Cole Aldrich and Mr. Avery in our top five, and really, I expect Toronto to choose someone from that five assuming one of them is still there at 13.

If not...

...well...things could get pretty interesting and they may have to pick from our next group of five.

Again, I'm going to talk more about this tomorrow in detail but for now, simply excited to get in some more workout sessions.

Yes, after a week off, Toronto is getting some kids back in the gym for workouts today.  Here are the four prospective Raptors expected to be in attendance:

Name                            Position    Height       Previous Team
Dominique Jones        Guard        6-5              South Florida
Lance Stephenson      Guard        6-6              Cincinnati
Solomon Alabi             Centre        7-1              Florida State
Hassan Whiteside       Centre        7-0              Marshall

Interestingly, Jones and Stephenson are replacing what was expected to be Eric Bledsoe and return visitor Avery Bradley in what would have been a very intersting match-up.  Both Bledsoe and Bradley have similar skillsets (athleticism, speed, defensive intensity etc) and neither are true point guards at this point.  However Bradley is nursing a sprained ankle, and therefore it looks like Toronto decided to go another route.

Jones and Stephenson are also very intriguing players as we'll discuss tomorrow, and I have to say I'm quite pleased the Raps brought both in.  Unlike last year when I felt that Toronto failed to do a thorough enough job getting key players in, this year the team is really doing its homework in my books.  On Thursday another bumper crop is expected including Patrick Patterson, Xavier Henry and HQ Fave Paul George, a story we broke Sunday night.

This morning though, I thought we'd look a bit at the other side of the draft, from an agent's perspective.

Agents wield a great amount of power in this process and yet there's rarely much fans know about their role etc.  Therefore I decided to reach out to Darren Heitner, CEO of Dynasty Athlete Representation and Publisher of Sportsagentblog.com.  His site is the premiere destination for this side of the sports world and he shared some insight on his company, the trials and tribulations of getting started in the business, and of course, the draft process.

 

1.  RHQ:  For starters, for our readers who aren't familiar with you or your site, sportsagentblog.com, tell us a little about yourself and how you got into the sports agent world.


Darren Heitner: SportsAgentBlog.com is a place where I, and a group of other awesome contributors, get to have fun discussing the latest sports agency, sports law, sports business, and contractual negotiations topics, along with anything else we might have on our minds.  It started as a way for me to stay in touch with what was going on in the sports agent world (back in December 2005), and has progressed into a site that many in the sports industry frequent in order to get a healthy dose of (hopefully) interesting content.  I also discuss happenings in my own business, Dynasty Athlete Representation, from time to time.


2.  RHQ:  When RaptorsHQ first started in May of 2005, we were met with a lot of resistance from the traditional media, especially when we became the first non-traditional media source to gain press access to the team.  When you first started up Dynasty, did you encounter similar issues?


DH:  I encountered similar issues when I started SportsAgentBlog in the same year, but eventually, I was getting countless messages from major entities in the sports world that they enjoyed my work more than SportsBusiness Journal, which is THE publication for people in my industry.  When I started up Dynasty in a nontraditional way and as a nontraditional agency, I definitely had my fair share of critics - I still do.  However, those critics are not from the media.  If anything, the media has enjoyed my agency's story and the fact that I am more than happy to include them on all things Dynasty.  It's a part of Dynasty's open culture.


3.  RHQ:  Talk a little to us about Dynasty right now.  In the beginning, you had many pro bowling clients but I believe have since branched out into all manner of sports.  Do you represent any NBA or potential NBAers?


DH:  Our first client was a bowler and we still represent bowlers for everything outside of their winnings on the lanes.  We represent the best bowlers that compete in the PBA, which is the top professional bowling league in the world.  Dynasty has expanded include a burgeoning baseball division with three current Triple-A players, a basketball division that has had much success placing players overseas, and we do work in other areas such as coaches, hockey, and models.  We do not currently represent any NBA players, but I would like to see at least one of my clients make a Summer League roster this year.  Perhaps the Toronto Raptors want to take a look into my client Brandon Brown, who left UC Santa Barbara a year early to play professionally in Lithuania and Poland this past season.  He was very impressive in EuroCup play and could be a nice role player on an NBA squad.


4.  RHQ:  With the NBA Draft right around the corner, the media is abuzz with scouting and prospect talk.  Can you tell us about your experience with the draft process, be it regarding basketball or any other sports?


DH:  It seems like every team employs a different "draft process".  Some teams have more scouts than others, in different regions, with different kinds of authority.  While it is always fun to try to predict who will be selected at what slot and by which team, there is not much use to making those kinds of guesses.  On my end, it is important to provide scouts all the information about my clients that they can digest - and then some.  If they can see my players play in person, that is great.  If not, we want to provide them with full game footage.  If the team understands that I am interested in a relationship where my client and the team will come out as winners, it may help my client's positioning.

5.  RHQ:  How much politics are involved in these draft processes regarding agents getting their clients to only work out for certain teams or against certain players?  How do you feel about this?

DH:  There are a lot of politics involved in professional sports; however, with this question, I think it is more of a strategy play than a political play.  Many agents know their clients actual talents, strengths, and weaknesses better than the scouts that teams employ.  They don't want their projected lottery pick to be showed up by someone who is a fringe draft pick, altogether.  Certain players will be avoided.  Additionally, projected lottery picks often have more to lose than to gain from a workout.  Thus, the amount of teams worked out for by that player will often be limited to the teams with picks higher than where that player is projected to be taken.
 
6.  RHQ:  And in the same vein, there are often rumblings about players not wanting to go to Toronto etc.  Have you ever heard any such rumours in the agent world or was this something more common five or ten years ago?

DH:  Money is usually the name of the game.  If Toronto has a high pick in the first round, I don't think any rookie will complain being selected by the Raptors.

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