After helping the Nets relocate from New Jersey to his hometown of Brooklyn, rapper and entrepreneur Shawn Carter -- better known as Jay-Z -- will reportedly drop his stake in the franchise so that he can pursue a future representing NBA players as an agent.
Yahoo! Sports reports that Carter's Roc Nation Sports business will partner with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) on the new venture, which can't be undertaken as long as he is affiliated with an NBA franchise in an ownership role, per league rules.
The process is expected to be completed in time for Roc Nation to compete for players entering the June NBA draft, but there's no guarantee of the timing, sources said. Those within Roc Nation and the CAA alliance aren't "chasing a clock on this," one source said. "This isn't about one draft, but taking the long view of the business."
Much like the arrangement with CAA's baseball side, Jay-Z will let the firm's basketball agents handle contract negotiations and day-to-day business with athletes. The potential impact will come with athletes linking to Jay-Z's global reach in marketing, entertainment and business.
Forbes reported last week that Carter and CAA signed a deal to represent New York Yankees star second baseman Robinson Cano in upcoming negotiations on a contract that is expected to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Carter owns less than one percent of the Nets, but has spoken proudly of that stake. During a concert in October that helped open Brooklyn's Barclays Center, the Nets' new home, Carter slammed media reports that he thought had attempted to "diminish" his role with the franchise, which began in 2003.
"That's their way of diminishing our accomplishments. Don't let anyone diminish your accomplishments. ... "[I'm] a young black African male who was raised in a single-parent home in low-income housing and I stand before you as an owner of the Brooklyn Nets. ... Don't let anyone diminish your accomplishments. You don't have to be inspired by me, be inspired by Barack Obama if you choose to. Latinos in here, be the first Latino president. Ladies in here, be the first female president."
Carter, 43, has also rapped about owning the Nets.
"The Nets could go 0-for-82 and I'd look at you like this [expletive] is gravy," he joked on "N----- in Paris," a 2011 song with Kanye West.
With the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement reducing the length and size of player contracts, the competition to attract star players capable of generating big-dollar deals only increases. There aren't many magnets for young talent quite like Carter, whose popularity is enormous and whose brand is so closely associated with financial success. His relationships with high-profile NBA stars, including LeBron James, are well-known and his reported net worth of more than $400 million, according to Forbes, would seem to be a convincing detail for potential clients weighing their options. Carter's visibility and relationships with players did get him slapped on the wrist back in 2011, when he was fined $50,000 for visiting the University of Kentucky's locker room following the team's victory in the Elite 8. It would be understandable if Carter felt that his ownership work was complete -- with the Nets in Brooklyn and Barclays Center built -- and that it was time to fry some bigger fish. After all, NetsDaily.com suggests that his Nets stake is worth a little more than $350,000. Meanwhile, the financial possibilities of this new venture would seem to be significantly larger.