The opening and continued expansion in overseas markets has been a blessing for basketball agents for two main reasons:
- There are more options for placement of their clients at a professional level.
- There is new leverage that agents can use when negotiating contracts for their clients, driving up their prices.
But if you talk to basketball agents this year, many will tell you that there seems to be less openings and less money granted to players. A lot of teams are looking to save money by signing talented domestic players. Players born overseas are getting better by the year, as foreign countries pay more attention to the athletic development of their youth. Additionally, there are more U.S. born players looking to play overseas. With an increase in supply and no clear sign of an increase in demand for U.S. players (due to high price tags), it is not unfathomable to think that it is getting more difficult to place talented players overseas for big money contracts. There are notable exceptions, but that is exactly what they are…exceptions. And we read about the exceptions, because they are more newsworthy.
While some teams adhere to a strict budget and will do whatever it takes to keep costs down (including sometimes ignoring paying agent fees or even declining to pay the player the money he deserves based on his contract), others wish that they could spend even more money on talented Americans. The problem that they have is that there might be a restriction on the number of imports.
Ron Artest recently spoke out about this particular issue.
“They need to let more Americans play in the European leagues. There are only like two [Americans] to a team while Europeans can come to America [and play in the NBA] like the whole San Antonio Spurs team — a whole American team can be full of Europeans. Europe has to be a little more fair to the American players.
You see a lot of foreign players come over to America to play in the NBA. It’s not fair that a lot of American players can’t come to China or can’t come to Europe to play with as many players as they want, so there’s no balance … They should just make it more even.”