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The State Of Overseas Basketball

The opening and continued expansion in overseas markets has been a blessing for basketball agents for two main reasons:

  1. There are more options for placement of their clients at a professional level.
  2. 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.”

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

2 replies on “The State Of Overseas Basketball”

European countries want their citizens to have jobs…Americans go to Europe because they cannot play in the NBA. European players go to the NBA not because they cannot play in the ACB for example. There’s plenty of markets that don’t impose restrictions on Americans (UK, Germany, Belgium) .Not to mention, the game over here is a different sport, many Americans have trouble adjusting to this style (floor spacing, getting out on big men, extra passes, come off pick and roll looking to pass instead of score,etc,etc.) If the federation of these countries allowed for unlimited Americans, the whole brand of basketball would change with fewer Spanish players available. Then, its difficult for these teams and sponsors to sell their team to the community. .

NBA prides itself on being the best league in the world so they’ll bring in the best players whether you’re American or Lithuanian, But in the domestic European league there is a major emphasis on sponsorship which goes hand in hand with seeing their own players.

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