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Jay-Z reportedly wants to sign Yasiel Puig

Yasiel PuigJay-Z is building an empire with his new sports agency, and he is doing so by targeting some of the most marketable young superstars from across the country. Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig has been the most exciting player in baseball over the past month, so it only makes sense that Roc Nation Sports is supposedly wooing him.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported on Wednesday that Puig was invited to a party at a club Jay-Z owns last month after another Dodgers player gave Puig Jay-Z’s contact information. A source reportedly said that Puig left the meeting intrigued by the lifestyle and marketing plan Roc Nation Sports was offering. Puig is believed to be shopping around, but the possibility of him hiring Jay-Z’s crew remains.

[Related: Jay-Z takes shot at Scott Boras in new rap song]

Roc Nation Sports has moved quickly to sign some of the best athletes in the world, such as this New York Yankees slugger and this NFL wide receiver. People like Scott Boras and Drew Rosenhaus can pretend they don’t see Jay-Z’s new sports agency as a threat, but there’s no way they aren’t at least slightly concerned.

Passan also noted that Puig is not the only young Cuban MLB star Roc Nation Sports is interested in signing. Jay-Z also has his sights set on Oakland A’s star Yoenis Cespedes, who will be participating in the Home Run Derby in New York next week. Whether the agency has enough experience or not, Roc Nation Sports does not seem to be having any problems attracting high-profile clients.

Jay-Z hits Scott Boras with Robinson Cano burn in new song

Jay-ZNot only is Jay-Z getting into the sports agent game, but he is also boasting about stealing top clients.

Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail album was released this week, and the rap star talks about stealing New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano from superagent Scott Boras in the song “CROWN,” as pointed out by FOX Sports’ Peter Schrager.

“Scott Boras, you over, baby. Robinson Cano, you coming with me,” he says in the song.

Jay-Z also mentions Kevin Durant in another song, referring to the Oklahoma City Thunder star as “KD.”

Cano, who will be a free agent after the season, signed with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation in April. The hip-hop mogul has also added women’s basketball player Skylar Diggins and NFL player Victor Cruz in addition to Durant and Cano.

Boras seems unfazed by the dis.

“What I’ve learned through my time in the business is that you can’t worry about external factors,” Boras said Wednesday, per ESPN New York. “You just have to focus on being the best you can be.”

Boras will attract top MLB players as clients for years to come, but you can’t tell me that he isn’t at least slightly worried about some athletes signing with Jay-Z. When top guys like Cano and Durant are signing with Roc Nation, you’re forced to take notice.

DeSean Jackson parts ways with Drew Rosenhaus, may hire Jay-Z

DeSean JacksonDeSean Jackson has parted ways with agent Drew Rosenhaus, and reports say he may hire Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports to represent him in the future.

According to Philly Mag’s Tim McManus, Jackson and Rosenhaus are splitting “in part over money.” Rosenhaus reportedly believes that Jackson owes him money. A 2011 report said that Jackson owed a lot of money to Rosenhaus, so it could be more of the same issue.

The Philly Inquirer’s Jeff McLane says Jackson has to wait five days after he files paperwork with the players’ union before he can talk to new agents. McLane reports that Jackson could sign with Jay-Z’s company, which also recently signed New York Jets second-round pick Geno Smith. USA Today Sports’ Mike Garafolo takes that report a step further, saying Jackson “would like to” hire Jay-Z’s agency, in part because of the wide receiver’s interest in developing his Jaccpot Records music label.

CSN Philly’s Geoff Mosher reports that Rosenhaus is trying to resolve the situation before Jackson finds a new agent.

Jackson is entering his sixth season in the league and already will be on his third agent. He was represented by DeBartolo Sports as a rookie and signed a four-year, $3.4 million deal after being selected in the second round in 2008. Jackson changed agents in November, 2009, amid his second straight strong season in the league. He hired Rosenhaus with the intention of getting a new contract to replace his rookie deal.

Jackson played out his existing rookie deal and struggled in 2011, mostly because of issues related to his contract. There were questions about his lack of effort that season. People believed he was intentionally avoiding contact to ensure he didn’t get hurt before his opportunity to sign a new deal. He later apologized for his poor season, and the team placed a franchise tag on him for the 2012 season. The two sides then reached agreement on a five-year, $51 million contract.

The issue with Jackson’s contract is that most of his money is guaranteed for the first two years. He earned $11 million last year ($10 million was his signing bonus), and he is set to earn $7 million this year. After that, it will cost about $11 million annually for the Eagles to bring him back from 2014-2016 (full contract details here), so they might find that to be too expensive.

Denise White of EAG Management said on Sunday night that Jackson was not entertaining any new agents or agencies at present.

Rob Gronkowski joked he was firing Drew Rosenhaus to hire Jay-Z

Rob GronkowskiRob Gronkowski may be in and out of the operating room this offseason, but the series of surgeries hasn’t led to the New England Patriots tight end losing his sense of humor.

Gronk underwent a fourth surgery on his twice-broken, infected forearm last week. He’s also set to undergo back surgery soon. Despite the surgeries, Gronk is still cracking jokes.

During an interview with ESPN’s “SportsCenter” on Thursday, Gronk’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said his client joked about firing him to hire Jay-Z after waking up from surgery.

“Typical Rob. As soon as he woke up, he joked, ‘Hey, I’m firing you.’ I said, ‘What?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I’m letting you go. I’m going to hire Jay-Z,’ ” recalled Rosenhaus.

“He was joking with me. That’s the great Rob Gronkowski. Immediately after surgery in the recovery room he’s cracking jokes about letting me go as his agent. He’s one of a kind. Nothing’s going to slow this guy down. He’s a ton of fun to represent and an amazing client.”

Rosenhaus is describing Gronkowski’s upcoming back surgery as minor and says they decided it was a good time to get it done since the tight end is already out with a forearm injury. Rosenhaus believes the forearm is a a bigger concern than the back injury.

Rosenhaus, who often speaks glowingly about his clients, says the forearm surgery “could not have gone any better.” He also does not think the surgeries will hinder Gronk’s career.

“I just think he’s going to have a very long, Hall of Fame career, and I don’t anticipate this difficult stretch that he’s had to be a long-term factor for him,” Rosenhaus told SportsCenter.

Gronk led the league with 17 touchdown catches two seasons ago. He has 38 touchdown catches in three seasons and is on his way to a Hall of Fame career as long as he can continue to play.

Geno Smith officially signs with Jay Z’s sports agency

Geno-Smith-JetsGeno Smith received a lot of attention last month when he reportedly fired his agents because he was not the first quarterback selected in the 2013 NFL Draft. Whether you believe it is a coincidence or not, Jay-Z happens to have started his own sports agency just a few weeks prior to Smith ditching his agents. You probably know where this is going.

According to the Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News, Smith announced on Wednesday that he has hired Jay-Z’s agency, Roc Nation Sports, to represent him going forward. He insisted that Jay-Z himself played “not that big of a role” in his decision.

“I think it’s just his agency,” Smith explained. “When you talk about being in New York from a standpoint of what they can do in the city, the connections that they have, I think it’s a good move. My mother and my family were comfortable with it. I’m comfortable with it.”

“I’m just going to move on from there. It’s not going to be a big deal and just remain humble and keep focusing on football.”

Anyone who tries to downplay the role of Jay-Z in their decision to sign with Roc Sports Nation is lying. There are very few people in the world who can drop everything they are doing to break into the business of representing athletes, and Jay-Z is one of them. If I decided to start my own sports agency, you wouldn’t see people like this MLB All-Star and this Pro Bowl wide receiver jumping on board. That’s because I’m not Jay-Z. His power and reputation have plenty to do with it.

Smith, who reportedly fell in the draft because of character concerns, said improving his image is not important.

“The only thing that’s important to be is the image that is perceived around this lockerroom, the guy that I am to my teammates, to my coaches and the work that I put in on the football field,” he said. “I’m all about football. I’m all about getting better and that’s the one thing that I’m focused on: Better myself daily and prepare myself to be there when the time comes.”

One thing we know for certain: Roc Nation Sports has had little trouble rounding up star power in its month-plus of existence.

Jay-Z reportedly giving up Brooklyn Nets ownership to become agent

Jay-Z is about to change the sports agent game.

According to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, Jay-Z has begun the process of divesting his ownership share in the Brooklyn Nets in order to become a certified NBA agent. HOV owns less than one percent of the team and league rules prevent owners from also representing players.

One could almost see this move coming. Jay Z’s Roc Nation company recently partnered with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) to launch a sports representation firm, and they are already making noise. Robinson Cano signed with Jay-Z’s company last week, as did New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz.

The allure of working with Jay-Z and being associated with his brand is very strong and should be enough to steer many clients toward CAA. Much like his relationship with the Nets, Jay-Z won’t have to be involved too much in the hands-on business, but he will come into play as a visible front man.

Agents are said to be panicking about this development, and they should be. We all know that many athletes love the music game (and vice versa), and often have aspirations of becoming more than just an athlete. Many will believe that partnering with Jay-Z will give them the opportunity to do so.

Victor Cruz signs with Jay-Z’s sports agency

Victor-Cruz-GiantsJay-Z is building an empire. Actually, Jay-Z has already built more than an empire. He has now turned his focus toward adding some of the biggest names in sports to his realm. On Tuesday, Robinson Cano announced that he had fired agent Scott Boras and signed with Roc Nation, which has paired with Creative Artists Agency to begin representing athletes. Victor Cruz is joining them.

According to the NY Post, the New York Giants wide receiver signed with Jay-Z’s sports agency on Wednesday. Last season, Cruz incorporated Jay-Z’s diamond-shaped “Roc” symbol into his touchdown routine, which makes a lot more sense now.

Unlike Cano, Cruz did not have to fire his current agent to sign with Roc Nation Sports. Cruz’s agent Tom Condon is already affiliated with CAA, so his deal with Jay-Z is expected to have more of an impact on endorsement deals than his football contract. The Giants have put a first-round tender on Cruz, meaning they would receive a first-round pick for him if another team offers the 26-year-old a contract New York chooses not to match.

As the Post speculated, Cruz’s decision to sign with Jay-Z’s agency could actually be good news for the Giants. Jay-Z has tremendous influence in New York and the surrounding area, so it probably would have no benefit to Cruz from an endorsement standpoint to leave New York. Eli Manning is certainly hoping that is the case.