Headline NBA Players Recruiting Sports Agents Sports Business

What Now? Spring Signing Time

The Portsmouth Invitational (basketball’s version of the “Senior Bowl”) just finished.  The craziness of the basketball world will be at an all time high this week. The players that we have worked over the last two weeks (Corey Stokes, Alex Tyus, and Julyan Stone) all had above average showings for their positions.  All three players chose their agents early and put a plan together to maximize their opportunities at the event.

For other players, now is when the real craziness begins.  Agents will be making last minute pitches, players will be realizing their true value in a world where commodities get overpaid for, and people that put all their eggs into one basket end up holding the bag.

The beauty of this time of year can be summed up in one word, “exposed”.  When markets are saturated with agents, as they currently are, the amount of detail put into every player in the supply chain must be extremely thorough.  The good old days of knowing the family, AAU coach, or college coach are long over.  Families and players can all be accused of using dirty negotiating tactics (or smart, depending on your philosophy).  Checks and balances, change of player, exclusion, and shell game leave many confused.

What agents sometimes fail to realize is that they were not exposed, but the player went in another direction to avoid exposure for their lack of readiness.  Agents are dealing with a more educated player, college coach, parents, and handler than they were 5 years ago during the end of the bubble years.  They are also dealing with some players who fill the emotional voids in their lives by having someone sell them a dream. Many players have been told they are heading to the NBA since 7th grade and now, in just weeks, it will all come to an end. Other players do not want to be held accountable by an agent who does understand exactly how things are going to play out.  The fear of hard work coming before the dream is too much to fathom.

As a trainer, I am fascinated by the amount of energy and emotion put into this process.  Players describe it as “draining” and agents describe it as “infuriating”.  Soon decisions will be final and it will all be over.  It will be onto the important aspects of enacting a plan by the team that has been put together.

Players and agents need to remember that this is a market not seen in the industry before, and here are a couple of key questions that I have taken into account compared to previous years:

  1. Where did all the “runners” go?  Oh, they are player managers with their own firms!!!
  2. Supply in the D-League up, supply of overseas players up, supply of NCAA college guards down.  Which agents will beat the market?
  3. What will happen to the shoe deals?
  4. Insurance?  Rookie players will be training and playing.  How many will take out extra insurance before that first pay check?
  5. Will players listen to their veteran teammates or to their inner circle?