Hairston's agent not certified, rookie contract in jeopardy
Posted July 11, 2014
Charlotte, N.C. — Charlotte Hornets guard PJ Hairston’s agent, Juan Morrow, may not be an agent at all, and that could have implications for Hairston’s ability to sign his rookie contract with the team.
Morrow, who spoke up in defense of Hairston after the former UNC guard was accused of punching a Durham prep basketball prospect during a pickup game, emphasizes his relationship with Hairston on the website client list and even automated Twitter feed of the company he claims to have founded in 2011, Upside Media Group. Hairston is apparently the only UMG client, and his likeness, name and current NBA team feature prominently in UMG marketing.
Multiple calls and emails from WRAL to Morrow, his office and his legal counsel have gone unreturned.
Also of concern is that neither Morrow nor UMG are registered to practice as agents in North Carolina, Illinois or Florida. UMG lists Miami as a permanent address, but the website claims the company has offices in both Miami and Chicago.
Morrow and UMG are also missing from the official list of certified agents approved by the National Basketball Player’s Association (the NBA players’ union), according to multiple sources including the Sporting News.
NBA rules dictate that in order for Hairston to negotiate with the Hornets, his representatives must be certified. The process requires an application approval, a background check and an annual fee. If a team negotiates with an agent they know is not certified, the team can be subject to a $50,000 fine, per league rules.
Any contract signed by a player who is represented by an uncertified agent can be voided.
Hairston has yet to sign his rookie contract with the Hornets where he is slated to make about $2 million over two years as the 26th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. He is currently with the team in Las Vegas as they begin their summer-league workouts.
A spokesperson for the Charlotte Hornets said Friday the team had no comment on the situation.
Hairston, who was ruled ineligible at UNC in December for multiple NCAA infractions, including accepting rental cars from known felon Haydn “Fats” Thomas, tweeted out in January, “My dream stands in front of me, Next stop Chi town!” He later Tweeted about signing with Morrow and UMG, saying he found his “new home.”
The signing, captured in a photo on the UMG website, took place in Chicago before Hairston headed to Frisco, Texas, where he played for the NBA Developmental League’s Texas Legends.
Hairston’s familiarity with off-court troubles extends back more than a year.
• May 13, 2013: PJ Hairston is pulled over for speeding in a Chevrolet Camaro. The address on the rental traces back to convicted felon and party promoter Haydn "Fats" Thomas, of Durham.
• June 5, 2013: Hairston is stopped at a Durham checkpoint in a silver Youkon rented by Thomas. Hairston is arrested and charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession and driving without a license. Those charges were dismissed after Hairston produced a valid license and completed a drug assessment program.
• July 28, 2013: Hairston is cited for speeding and careless and reckless driving on I-85 near Salisbury, NC. The car he is driving is registered to Randi Lee Furr from Charlotte.
• July 29, 2013: Hairston is suspended indefinitely from the UNC basketball team.
• Dec. 20, 2013: UNC announces they will not seek to reinstate Hairston from his suspension and announce he is no longer enrolled at the school.
• July 5, 2014: Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is pulled over driving Hairston’s 2015 Cadillac SUV. Gordon is arrested for DWI and is later bonded out by Thomas.
• July 6, 2014: Hairston is involved in an altercation with a 17-year-old at a Durham YMCA. The youth, identified as Northern Durham High School’s Kentrell Barkley alleges Hairston punched him.