Petitions To Play Overseas
When UnderArmour announced that its first basketball endorsement would be for Brandon Jennings, an American born kid who would go on to play his first professional game overseas, the final piece of the puzzle was in place to legitimize the overseas experiment. No longer are we wondering whether players will go from the NBA to a European/Russian/Middle Eastern team for more money. We know they will. If the opportunity presents itself and the player does not care about adjusting to a temporary new lifestyle (or maybe even has an interest in doing so), many owners outside of the United States will be hungry to make it happen.
While many teams abroad are obviously interested in acquiring top-notch NBA talent, no one has been more vocal in expressing his feelings than Panayiotis and George Angelopoulos, the billionaire brothers behind Olympiacos (the team that signed Childress). In a recent New York Times article, Panayiotis said,
“Next season I will open up a small office for free agents in New York, and I will take petitions.”
And you can bet that American agents have already begun to write those petitions. Not only do agents enjoy having another option for their clients (one that acts as a form of leverage to potentially drive up salaries in the U.S.), but in the back of their minds, they are thinking about that hefty ten-percent agent fee earned when their clients go overseas. Plus, the fee is paid by the team, which means that absolutely nothing comes from the client’s pocket. There is nothing like not having to invoice your client bugging him for money…and an extra six-percent over what you’ll get representing a client in the NBA is not so bad either.