Juan Morrow, the agent representing Charlotte Hornets' first-round pick P.J. Hairston, is not certified as a National Basketball Players Association player agent, according to Robert Gadson, the director of the NBPA’s Security and Agent Administration Department.
Gadson told Sporting News on Thursday that there is “no record of a Juan Morrow in (the NBPA’s) files, nor is there record of an applicant by that name.”
A description under Morrow's photo on the website for Upside Media Group, which Morrow is said to have founded, read "Founder & Chairman, Certified NBPA Agent." Shortly after the Sporting News report was released, Morrow's description was changed to read "Founder & Chairman, Marketing Expert."
Hairston is the only listed client on the website.
The Sporting News relayed portions of the CBA relevant to Morrow's situation.
According to the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, “(p)ersons who wish to represent NBA players in individual contract negotiations must comply with the Regulations and become certified as an NBPA Player Agent before they are eligible to participate in such negotiations.”
To become a certified agent, individuals must submit an application and are subject to a background check. The NBPA office said background checks typically take between two weeks and 30 days, and investigators are searching for red flags such as embezzlement, theft or fraud.
Once approved, annual agent fees are due no later than the first of July for the upcoming season. Gadson has no record of Morrow submitting payment for those fees.
Article XXXVI of the CBA states: “The NBA shall impose a fine of $50,000 upon any Team that negotiates a Player Contract with an agent or representative not certified by the Players Association in accordance with the Players Association’s Agent Regulation Program if, at the time of such negotiations, such Team either (a) knows that such agent or representative has not been so certified, or (b) fails to make reasonable inquiry of the NBA as to whether such agent or representative has been so certified.”
Also per the CBA, each team is supplied an updated list of certified agents every two weeks. It is the responsibility of teams to confirm agents as being in good standing with the NBPA office.
A Hornets spokesperson who talked to Sporting News could not confirm that Morrow is certified.
Hairston averaged a team-high 14.6 points per game as a sophomore at North Carolina in 2012-13. UNC did not seek to reinstate Hairston after the 6-foot-5 guard was suspended for the first 10 games of his junior season while the NCAA investigated improprieties involving rental cars.
Hairston averaged 21.8 points in 26 games last season with the Texas Legends of the NBA D-League before Charlotte selected him after a draft night trade with Miami.
- Chris Johnson