Yesterday, I reposted the picture to this blog in my Instagram story. It originally came from my book Same Name Different Game and I would like to write more in detail about it now. As a professional basketball player in Europe, you will generally only receive contracts for one season until you are a proven player. If you are lucky, you may get a 1 + 1 contract which means the rights to the second season are usually held by the team. We would all like to think that we deserve more money and your agent may be telling you that he/she is going to find you a job worth more. The reality, however, can be different. Not everyone will be making more money. There are too many factors involved. The player market is extremely saturated, meaning, there are way too many players for the amount of open jobs. Teams look to keep their costs down by signing unproven players for less than what they would have to pay a vet and hope it works out.
That being said, be sure you are wise about the choices you make in the summer. Hopefully your agent will find you an upgrade on your salary from last year, but there is no guarentee. There are many proven players that have to play the waiting game. Teams are not stupid. They know that the longer a player is not signed, the more likely that player will go down in his contract demands. There are too many players out there. Typically as seasons end in Europe, June is the month that teams re-sign players (both foreign and domestic) that they already have. Then they look at proven players that they know, whether it be a player in their league or one that they have had their eyes on. In July, they start to look at new players. They go to summer leagues or other places where they can get watch players in action. Initial contacts with agents begin during this time but don’t get it twisted, until you see a SIGNED contract offer, you have nothing.
Towards the end of July and early August is when lots of players will be signed because usually training camps or preseasons begin towards the end of the month. If you are not signed by then, you might be in trouble and you better be in shape so that if you get a call, you are ready to go. Also if you are not signed by the end of August, especially teams with small budgets, will intentionally wait to see if the prices will go down on the player market. Some teams cannot afford to pay foreign players for a long preseason, so they bring them in shortly before the preseason is over, or they might have a player in for a tryout that they deem not good enough so they look again for players.
The point I am trying to get across is to be prepared. Don’t overspend in the summer between seasons while thinking you are about to make more money the next season. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Making poor decisions in the summer could hurt you for a long time to come. Understand how the market is, speak constantly with your agent, and keep getting better while you wait. Good luck!