Honestly, agents would be silly if they did not use this opportunity that has presented itself to inflate their clients’ salary figures. When Josh Childress, a restricted free agent unhappy with his role with the Hawks receives an offer that is higher than what any NBA team was offering him and will additionally allow him to play more minutes, why wouldn’t he jump ship and travel to Greece? He is young, enjoys traveling, and is hungry for more money. I would bet that he is not the only NBA player who displays those three traits. Borderline NBA starters seem like the guys who are most likely to travel abroad with the Euro being as strong as it is compared to the dollar. In the past, I suggested that along with Childress, a guy like Ben Gordon would be a perfect fit overseas. He has the talent to be a starter, but the Bulls have not given him a chance to shine.
The NBA is scared. There is nothing to make league executives think that Childress is a rare blip on the radar. Thus, I was not surprised to hear that agents are now using that fear to their clients’ advantage. Delonte West, represented by Noah Croom of Goodwin Sports Management, has made some headlines recently as potentially being the next fringe player to leave his NBA team for a more lucrative offer overseas. In this case, Croom has suggested that Dynamo Moscow is interested in offering West a two-year deal worth about $10 million. If true, the offer would seem to be more favorable than the $2.76 million qualifying offer that West would likely receive from the Cavs for a year. West and Croom cannot be too happy about such a small monetary figure when his teammate, Daniel Gibson, is receiving $21 million over 5-years.
There really is nothing wrong with Croom trying to look elsewhere to drive up the price of his client. We do it all the time by leveraging teams in the same league against each other. In fact, in the early 1970s, agents drove up prices by pitting the NBA against the ABA. Now, there is a new option: putting in an NBA executive’s mind that one of his prized players is thinking about traveling across the Atlantic Ocean. Assistant Coach Manos Manouselis of Olympiacos (the team that recently signed Childress) recently expressed his feelings toward American agents using the potential of playing overseas as a negotiation tactic.
Our goal is not to be a factor in driving up prices in the NBA market, but rather to target players who we believe will help us win the Greek Cup, Euroleague and Greek League…We had many NBA officials that were more than generous with their time talking to us at the Summer League, and we would be more than willing to reciprocate with them in regard to any potentially false rumors associated with our club. We would like to maintain an excellent relationship with the entire NBA, because in the end we are all looking to promote the game of basketball.
With all of this camaraderie, maybe there is hope for a European division of the NBA eventually. I highly doubt it, but just thought I would link to the interesting idea. I think that the best plan is something that is actually not in the NBA’s hands. In fact, it has more to do with you. The Presidential election is less than one-hundred days away. If you want to see the NBA gain back strength against the international market, vote for who you think will turn around our struggling economy. The strength of the Euro against the Dollar has allowed teams like Olympiacos to sign players that we would have never imagined would leave the NBA for an Euroleague team a year ago. Till then, agents will rightfully pit NBA teams against potential offers from overseas.