Mark Termini

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Mark Termini is a Cleveland, Ohio-based sports attorney and agent.[1] His agency Mark Termini Associates Inc represents professional basketball players,[2] and he leads contract negotiations for agent Rich Paul and Klutch Sports Group.[3]

Background and education[edit]

Termini graduated from Holy Name High School and Case Western Reserve University (1978). Both schools are located in Cleveland, Ohio. He then earned a law degree Cum Laude from Cleveland State University's Marshall College of Law in 1984.[4]

Sports business career[edit]

Termini founded the sports agency Mark Termini Associates Inc in 1986.[4] After the Dallas Mavericks selected his client Jim Jackson with the fourth choice of the 1992 NBA Draft, Jackson held out for the first 54 games of the 1992-93 season. Termini then negotiated his six-year, $20 million contract, including a full salary for the 1992-93 season even though Jackson played only 28 games.[5] At the time it marked the most lucrative contract ever for a rookie guard.[6] There have been very few high-profile holdouts in NBA history since then.[7]

Under Termini's guidance, Kevin Edwards signed a five-year, $9.6 million free agent contract with the New Jersey Nets following the 1992-93 season.[8] Termini’s client Ron Harper, then with the Los Angeles Clippers, tied Michael Jordan for the fourth-highest NBA salary at $4 million in the 1993-94 season.[9]

In August 1993, The Dallas Morning News included Termini in a group of the five most influential and high-profile NBA agents.[10]

Termini represented Pau Gasol, a four-time NBA All-Star and current member of the Milwaukee Bucks, when he played for the Memphis Grizzlies.[11] Gasol left his agency in 2004 after Termini refused to reduce his contract negotiation fee.[12] Other former clients include Gary Trent, Calvin Booth, and Earl Boykins.[13]

In 2006, Termini helped his client Damon Jones become the first NBA player to sign an endorsement contract with Chinese shoe manufacturer Li Ning.[14]

Termini has negotiated almost $1 billion in professional sports contracts. He has represented more than 30 selections in the NBA Draft,[15] including former Ohio State star Kosta Koufos, who has been a Termini client for his entire career.[16] Koufos currently plays for the Sacramento Kings.[17] Termini’s agency also represents players in foreign professional leagues.[18]

In January 2013, Termini began working with agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Group. Paul’s agency represents NBA star LeBron James, as well as talented young players Eric Bledsoe and Tristan Thompson. As part of their working relationship, Termini runs the contract negotiations for Klutch Sports Group and all of its NBA clients.[2] Paul sought the help of Termini for contract negotiations, his experience, and connections with NBA executives.[19]

Termini, who specialized in contract negotiation and construction, was a key figure in the free agency process that ultimately led to the return of LeBron James to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014. He developed a contract negotiation strategy prior to the 2014 NBA free agency signing period that led to James signing a two-year max contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers.[20] That contract gave James more flexibility and the potential for greater earnings.[21] Robert Lanza, former NBA Players Association General Counsel, called Termini "one of the finest contract attorneys in the country" following the contract.[22] By signing a shorter deal than the four year maximum contract, James was able to take advantage of the rising NBA salary cap two years later.[23]

During the 2014 offseason, contract negotiations for Klutch Sports Group client Eric Bledsoe and the Phoenix Suns continued into September.[24] A restricted free agent, Bledsoe finally signed a 5-year, $70 million deal on September 24.[25]

Paul and Termini advised the new National Basketball Players Association leaders to formally warn the NBA about their teams using preemptive media comments to chill offers for restricted free agents. This resulted in the NBA sending a memo to its teams warning of potential exposure if they used this long-unchallenged tactic.[26]

Just prior to the 2015-16 season, Termini and Paul negotiated a five-year, $82 million contract for restricted free agent Tristan Thompson. That deal made Thompson the sixth-highest-paid power forward in the NBA for the 2015-16 season[27] In 2015, Termini also negotiated a four-year, $33 million free agent contract for his client Kosta Koufos,[28] along with deals for several other Klutch clients including Cory Joseph (four years, $30 million).[29]

Termini represented his long-time friend Flip Saunders, who coached 17 seasons in the NBA and won 654 career games. Saunders died in 2015 at age 60 of Hodgkin's lymphoma.[30]

Termini and Paul collaborated on an endorsement contract that their client Ben Simmons signed with Nike on June 6, 2016. Simmons' five-year, guaranteed $20 million contract with Nike includes performance bonuses that could increase the value above $40 million. On June 23, 2016, Simmons became the first overall selection in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers.[31]

During the 2016 offseason, Termini and Paul negotiated a three-year, $100 million contract for LeBron James, which made him the highest paid player in the NBA for the first time in his career.[32] They also finalized a four-year, $57 million deal for Klutch Sports Group client J.R. Smith just before the start of the 2016-17 season. [33]

Termini is often quoted in the media on issues related to sports economics and sports law.[4] He has written on these topics as well.[34]

Athletic career[edit]

A former basketball standout in high school and college, Termini scored 1,161 career points when he played for Case Western Reserve University from 1974 through 1978. He averaged 21.7 points per game his senior season. He also set records for career free throw percentage (85.4) and most assists in one season (106).[35] Termini is a member of the Hall of Fame as a player at both Case Western Reserve University and Holy Name High School.[4]


A lifelong Clevelander, Termini and his wife Wendy currently reside in the Greater Cleveland area.[36] Termini’s father Marlo was a long-time Cleveland area basketball coach.[15] He is a member of the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame[37] and the National Senior Softball Hall of Fame.[38]


  1. ^ Schmitt Boyer, Mary. "Some agents believe recent NBA deals are diminishing their power".
  2. ^ a b Zillgitt, Jeff. "LeBron James rep Klutch Sports adds top agent Termini". USA TODAY.
  3. ^ Zillgitt, Jeff. "LeBron James only takes 2-year contract with Cavaliers". USA TODAY.
  4. ^ a b c d "Entertainment and Sports Law Association Symposium". Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Website.
  5. ^ Caldwell, Dave. "Mavericks Hit A Daily Double First, They Signed Quinn Buckner As Coach For Next Season. Then, Holdout Jim Jackson Entered The Fold".
  6. ^ Sullivan, Mike (March 5, 1993). "Jackson signs $20 million deal with Mavericks, plays tonight". The Columbus Dispatch.
  7. ^ "Notable contract holdouts in sports history". Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  8. ^ Patton, Robes. "'Un' For Edwards Made Him Rich Man". SunSentinel. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  9. ^ Howard-Cooper, Scott. "Harper's Salary to Be Like Mike for Next Season : Clippers: He will be paid $4 million, the same as Jordan, after team picks up option". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  10. ^ "Powerful Sports Agents". The Dallas Morning News. August 7, 1993.
  11. ^ Tillery, Ronald. "Grizzlies grab a long, tall Pole in Trybanski". ESPN. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  12. ^ "Pau-Wow: Grizzlies Star Signs SFX' Arn Tellem As Agent". SportsBusiness Daily. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  13. ^ Rios, Anthony. "Local star preps for life after basketball". The Morning Journal. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  14. ^ Wertheim, Jon L. "Keeping Up With the Yaos".
  15. ^ a b Mayock, Emily. "Big Shot: A CWRU Hall of Famer's Heavy-Hitting—but Lesser-Known—Role in Some of Basketball's Biggest Deals". Think. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  16. ^ Porter, Todd. "Prev Previous Corralling a tournament win SAYBROOK — With just more than five minutes to play and the … Next Next Up Blue Streaks roll past Railroaders MADISON — After the first quarter of his team's boys basketball non-conference m… A Todd Porter column: Koufos' saga interesting". Star Beacon. Retrieved May 11, 2008.
  17. ^ Basketball Reference Retrieved 24 February 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ Stein, Marc (October 15, 2009). "Jones signs deal with Napoli". Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  19. ^ Heitner, Darren (March 25, 2013). "The Secret Weapon Behind LeBron James' Agent Rich Paul". Sports Agent Blog. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  20. ^ Windhorst, Brian; McMenamin, Dave (April 10, 2017). "The secret process of the King's court". Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  21. ^ Windhorst, Brian. "LeBron's money move". Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  22. ^ "LeBron's Big Decision". Bloomberg. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  23. ^ Freydenlund, Zach (December 7, 2016). "Rich Paul and the Art of Building a Powerhouse Sports Agency From Scratch". Complex. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  24. ^ "John Wall to Fire Agent and Hire LeBron's Agent, Richard Paul". JUICE. January 13, 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  25. ^ Windhorst, Brian (September 25, 2014). "Eric Bledsoe, Suns reach $70M deal". Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  26. ^ Stein, Marc (June 19, 2015). "NBA cracking down on teams' big talk about restricted free agents". Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  27. ^ Pluto, Terry (October 22, 2015). "The inside story of how the Cleveland Cavaliers and Tristan Thompson came to a deal". Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  28. ^ Stein, March (July 5, 2015). "Kosta Koufos agrees to four-year, $33M deal with Kings, sources say". Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  29. ^ Broussard, Chris; Windhorst, Brian (July 6, 2015). "Cory Joseph, Toronto Raptors agree to four-year, $30 million deal". Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  30. ^ Pluto, Terry (January 24, 2016). "As Cleveland Cavaliers face Minnesota Timberwolves, there are memories of Flip Saunders". Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  31. ^ Zillgitt, Jeff (June 28, 2016). "How Nike landed shoe deal with No. 1 pick Ben Simmons". USA Today. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  32. ^ Bradley, Pat (August 11, 2016). "LeBron James Just Became NBA's Highest-Paid Player for First Time Ever". NESN. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  33. ^ "J.R. Smith, Cavs agree to 4-year, $57M contract". Fox Sports. October 14, 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  34. ^ Termini, Mark (12/1/97). "Fan demand--not salaries--fuels sports ticket price hikes". 18 (48). Crain's Cleveland Business. p. 11. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  35. ^ "Bio". Case Western Reserve University Spartans Website. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  36. ^ Finnan, Bob (2006-10-15). "NBA agent Termini believes loyalty and a hands-on approach are key in business". The News Herald.
  37. ^ "Marlo Termini". Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  38. ^ Sirard, Jack (September 1, 2012). "24 Elected to National Hall of Fame". Senior Softball USA. Retrieved 24 February 2017.