NBA Draft Lottery Basketball

Duke's Zion Williamson, second from right, is interviewed by an ESPN reporter during the NBA basketball draft lottery Tuesday, May 14, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nuccio DiNuzzo)

Zion Williamson’s presumptive future as the NBA draft’s top pick became even more concrete at midnight as the deadline for college basketball’s early entrants to remove their names from the draft pool came and went, but the Duke freshman phenom still stood in rare territory.

His stepfather had gone on Baton Rouge radio two weeks ago to shutdown rumors created from national media talking points that Williamson may return to Duke for his sophomore season, but still three weeks from draft night, the likely future Pelican had yet to sign with an agent.

But just over six hours after his name was solidified in this year’s draft pool, Williamson’s new agency, CAA Sports, announced they had signed the superstar on Twitter. According to reports from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the favorite to be taken No. 1-overall by the Pelicans on June 20 will be represented by Austin Brown and Lisa Joseph-Metelus in his future contract dealings and sponsorship negotiations — including a shoe deal that is projected to make major headlines.

CAA, considered one of the major names in the NBA player agency world along with Klutch Sports, represents All-NBA honorees Joel Embiid and Paul George, along with Chris Paul, Donovan Mitchell, Devin Booker, 2015 first-overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns and that draft’s second-overall selection D’Angelo Russell.

The agency also represents current New Orleans players Elfrid Payton, who will become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and Julius Randle, who holds a player option for the 2019-20 campaign.

Individually, Brown’s client list includes recently retired future Hall-of-Famer Dwyane Wade, along with Russell, Mitchell, Paul Gasol, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Collin Sexton. In February, he was recently appointed as one of four co-head of CAA’s NBA athlete representation division. At the same time, Joseph-Metelus was named one of the co-heads of the agency’s client management operation, meaning she will be heavily involved in Williamson’s off-the-court business opportunities.

This past offseason, CAA helped negotiated a pair of max contracts for Paul (four years, $160 million) and George (four years, $137 million), along with two max rookie extensions for Towns (five years, $190 million) and Booker (five years, $158 million). During last summer’s offseason, they also helped Embiid land the largest-ever footwear and apparel deal for a center in league history for Embiid with Under Armour, as well as helping Wade pick up a lifetime partnership with Chinese footwear and sports apparel brand Li-Ning.


Follow Nathan Brown on Twitter, @nbrownadvocate.