P.J. Hairston's agent is not certified — and that's a problem


There’s yet another wrinkle in the P.J. Hairston saga.

Hairston’s agent, Juan Morrow, identifies himself as a “certified player agent” on his website and social media profiles for his agency, Upside Media Group.

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According to the National Basketball Players Association, that’s not true.

In fact, Robert Gadson, director of the NBPA’s Security and Agent Administration Department 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.”


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Sporting News reached out to Morrow for comment, but the phone call was not returned.

Sporting News’ attempt to contact Hairston through Upside Media Group also was unsuccessful.

So why does this matter?

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.

Sporting News reached out to Hornets VP of Communications, Mike Cristaldi, to find out whether the Hornets are aware of Morrow’s status. Cristaldi said the Hornets would not be able to confirm knowledge of Morrow’s certification.

If it is discovered that an agent’s certifications were not valid when a contract was signed, then “all terms within the contract are voided,” Gadson said. It is unclear whether rookie contract negotiations between the Hornets and Hairston have taken place. 

UMG lists Hairston as its only client.

The former North Carolina guard was selected with the 26th overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft by the Miami Heat before being traded to the Hornets for Shabazz Napier. 

Hairston is slotted to make about $2 million in the first two years of his deal, after which the Hornets have the opportunity to keep him on two single-season options. 

UPDATE: Morrow has removed “Certified player agent” from his bio on Upside Media Group’s website.