Agent Lon Babby is in the running to become president of the Phoenix Suns even as one of his top clients, Hedo Turkoglu, was traded to the team Monday.
But despite concerns among rival team executives about a conflict of interest, Babby disclosed his dealings with Suns owner Robert Sarver to Turkoglu, recused himself from representing the former Raptors forward, and received a written waiver from Turkoglu acknowledging his approval of the circumstances, two people with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com. The meticulous approach is no surprise, given Babby's reputation of being one of the most forthright agents in the business.
Nonetheless, word of Babby's candidacy to succeed Steve Kerr in Phoenix raised "red flags" among rival executives, one of the execs told CBSSports.com. Not only was Turkoglu traded to the Suns Monday, but he also agreed to waive a portion of his $5 million trade kicker and reduce the amount guaranteed in the final year of his contract as part of the deal, sources said.
Two people familiar with Turkoglu's situation told CBSSports.com that Babby's partner at Washington, D.C., law firm Williams & Connolly, Jim Tanner, had assumed the role of representing Turkoglu in view of Babby's candidacy to become the Suns' president. Babby also has long represented Suns forward Grant Hill. Turkoglu also was receiving independent advice from his financial adviser, who approved the contractual changes that facilitated the trade to Phoenix, the people said.
"Hedo was so unhappy in Toronto that he would've waived the trade kicker regardless," a third person with knowledge of the arrangement said.
In view of Babby's full disclosure, the National Basketball Players Association has no plans to challenge the move, a person familiar with the union's stance said.
Turkoglu was traded to the Suns Monday in a three-team deal that also sent Boris Diaw, Tyson Chandler and Leandro Barbosa to Toronto and Jose Calderon to Charlotte.