Hi Teammates! Let me answer that title by asking a simple question. If you had a choice between earning $500 or $1000 which would you choose? Ok, now a follow-up because I am positive everyone said $1000…to get the $1000 you have to kiss your mom. To get the $500 you would have to kiss a stranger. Still gonna go for the $1000 right? Easy.
Well, it is the same principle as selecting an agent. If you would like to play in Europe, why would you have an American-based agent? Ok I know that sounds pretty bad and I am not an anti-American agent at all, it is just a simple math equation much like I presented above.
If you have an American agent, he or she will call up one of the partner agencies that they work with in Europe and give them your player profile in the hopes that the partner agent finds you a job. Not a problem because it is perfectly normal to do so…BUT…the problem could come in two scenarios.
Partner agent already has clients…quite possibly a player similar to you. So you already face competition for jobs and you never even knew it. If the partner agent is in talks with a team, and the team likes you and one of the partner agent players, who do you think the partner agent is going to push for the job?
-You, who he will split the 10% commission fee with your agent and only earn 5%?
-His player who he doesn’t have to split any commission with and earns the whole 10%?
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist for you to figure out who gets that job.
The other way it could be troublesome for you as the player is if you get hurt or injured. If your American agent does not have a connection or relationship with the team, you will have to rely on the partner agencies, who probably do not know you, or your situation, or might want to protect the relationship with the team. Will he or she fight for your settlement or whatever issues there may be with the team if he would like to do business with that team in the future? Maybe, maybe not.
I know what I am writing now is a blanket statement and does not relate to all agents. There are surely many American agents that fly out to Europe and establish relationships with GM’s and coaches. Surely there are some that call regularly to their contacts and such. There is a simple way to find out…ask your American agent when was the last time they were in Europe. If they say never…well…good luck with all that.
Another question you could ask is how many partner agents they work with. If they are selective and only work with a select few, that is a good sign. If they say they have partner agencies throughout Europe, you will likely be the $500 from my example above.
With that being said, however, if you are a player with hopes of playing in the NBA or the NBA G-League, then I would say you need an American agent. For basically the same reasons I would advise you to have a European-based agent if you want to play in Europe. If your goal is to play in South America, then there is also no need to have a European agent.
Cutting out the middleman will be key in securing jobs. As I mentioned before, I am not anti-American agent or pro-European agent. I am trying to make you understand that cutting out the middle man will be key in you securing a contract. If you have an American agent and he or she does great work for you, then please continue working with them. Just inform yourself and ask questions. Do not leave your future to chance!