NBA London 2011 -  New Jersey Nets v Toronto Raptors

Winderman: Why agents are pushing overseas options

Leave a comment

The flights are mostly one way, west to east. Everyone seemingly is going to Europe or beyond, amid the lockout.

We appreciate the incentive for the players, the opportunity to stay sharp, find competition, earn a few pennies on their typical NBA dollars.

But they are not alone in this process.

It also is one driven by agents, who also need to continue the cash flow.

So how does it work for them?

He’s how, according to a couple of agents well-versed in the process:

Foremost, unlike NBA deals, where the agent cut is limited to four percent, agents typically claim 10 percent on overseas deals. At times, that percentage is split with an overseas agent.

“The agent fee is 10 percent, paid by the team, not paid by the player,” one agent said, requesting anonymity due to ongoing contentiousness in the process. “So if a player goes over and now he’s getting $100,000, there’s an agent fee of $10,000 that the team pays. Now, sometimes, that gets broken up, there’s a broker overseas, without even getting back into kickbacks.”

The agent, though, did get into kickbacks, noting it is not out of the question for an agent to request a 15-percent fee, so he still winds up with the 10 percent after paying off his overseas associate.

Another agent, who deals with mostly secondary-level talent, said the contracts signed by the players are for the full amount offered, unlike in the NBA, where agent and other fees are then removed.

“If it’s a $200,000 contract, he’s netting $200,000 in cash,” he said. “The team is paying the tax on that. So he’s getting $200,000 in cash. The agent is getting $20,000.”

Of course, that’s if the players or the agent get anything, based on some of the sketchy payment practices overseas.

“Stupid people like me wait and sometimes the player doesn’t get his money and therefore I don’t get my money,” said the agent who represents secondary-talent players. “So it can happen.”

Because of that, there has been a push among agents to receive payment up front for those headed overseas amid the lockout.

“Well, let’s use a practical example, Deron Williams,” the agent who represents high-end talent said. “OK, so he’s making, let’s probably say $500,000 U.S. a month. You’re getting at least three months out of him if the lockout continues, that $1.5 million. So you might ask for $150,000 up front, sure.”

Both agents said they would be reluctant sending players assured of significant future NBA earnings overseas, even if it meant lost fees.

“Obviously,” the high-end agent said, “I’m going to have issues if I don’t make any money here. But the fact is here I’ve got a fiduciary obligation, I can’t advise somebody the wrong way.”

Said the agent who represents second-tier talent, “The thing that’s just fascinating to me is the first guy that’s injured, whoever goes, it’ll be interesting to see what happens.”

Ira Winderman writes regularly for and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: No, Lakers are not playoff bound

Leave a comment

When you ask Lakers fans for bold predictions, you get the delusional to come out of the woodwork.

Most Lakers fans I know — remember, I’m a former Laker blogger living in So Cal, even my optometrist wants to talk Lakers during my eye exam — are realistic about where the team is in the rebuild process. Like me, they want to see a healthy season of Kobe Bryant where he can choose whether or not to continue his career on his terms, not Father Time’s.

But Lakers exceptionalism is a thing, and there are Lakers fans living in a fantasy land.

That’s what Jenna Corrado and I get to in the latest PBT Extra: There are Lakers fans that think they are playoff bound. And there are people who expect even more than that from this team this year — like Kobe Bryant to return to MVP form. Those people need to stop taking so much glaucoma medication.

Thabo Sefolosha’s lawyer: White police officer targeted black Hawks forward

Thabo Sefolosha
Leave a comment

NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.

Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.

Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.

A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”

Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.