Former Wichita State star Ron Baker is represented by Creative Artists Agency, which is an absolute behemoth in the world of athletic and artistic talent.
CAA’s work with Baker this summer shows, in the view of the NBA intelligensia, how smart and powerful CAA’s reach is within the league. Baker signed a two-year deal with the Knicks for $8.9 million. It appears he got a great deal, one the Knicks are taking criticism for offering and one he should be thrilled with.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe, one of the NBA’s most influential media voices, discusses the Baker contract in some depth in a podcast that breaks down the many failures of the Knicks in recent seasons. It’s not so much a criticism of Baker as it is another example of Knicks dysfunction.
The discussion about Baker’s contract begins around the 24-minute mark, where Lowe calls it probably the “most inexplicable contract” in the NBA. The panel (which also includes Howard Beck of Bleacher Report and Ian Begley of ESPN) credits his agent with creating demand for Baker that the Knicks apparently feared.
“It's unclear if Baker, a restricted free agent, had drawn interest from other teams willing to pay him a salary comparable to his agreement with New York,” wrote Begley. “The 24-year-old guard averaged 4.1 points and 2.1 assists in 13.5 minutes per game last season for New York. Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2016, Baker started 13 games for New York, mostly down the stretch of the regular season.”
When Baker signed with the Knicks after the NBA Draft, I was concerned the ineptitude of the organization might spoil the start of his NBA career. Signing up for that circus seemed to carry risk. A year later, it is clear Baker and his reps knew exactly what they were doing.