The N.B.A. is a booming business, and LeBron James is well on his way to cultivating a billion-dollar empire. But actually representing players for their basketball contracts, as opposed to the more lucrative (for agents) sponsorship agreements, doesn’t make much business sense. It is such a poor decision, one wonders why anyone makes it at all. Sixty percent of certified agents did not represent any N.B.A. players last season. Most of those who did represented only a few, little-used substitutes.
In January, 174 people took the agent test, and 93 passed. I was one of them. The players’ union graciously allowed me to sit for the exam, in order to better understand the process of becoming an agent, but despite passing, let’s just say I will be sticking with my day job. For now. Only a third of the roughly 450 certified agents became one in just the last two years. The math is grim.
Schwartz said the lesser-known agents are always in danger of losing players during their prime earning years to the major conglomerates. “It is much harder today to be a boutique agency in basketball than it was 20 years ago,” he said.
An estimated 20 to 40 agents fail to pay their dues each year and let their certifications lapse, deciding it makes little sense to pay thousands in fees when they have no clients. The union is formalizing this process as well, requiring any agent who hasn’t negotiated an N.B.A. contract in five years to take, or retake, the test, a gentle suggestion that maybe this isn’t the right profession for them.
Knicks president Steve Mills was asked on The Michael Kay Show if Kristaps Porzingis is unhappy with the Knicks’ decision not to sign him to a rookie extension. He said that wasn’t the case. “We’ve been very straightforward in our communication with KP’s brother (Janis Porzingis), who is his agent.”
Steve Mills: “One thing about my relationship with KP is that when he is unhappy about something or disappointed about something he’s been very forthright in coming to me and saying, ‘Steve you know what? I’m not happy about this. And throughout this whole process he’s been very excited about David Fizdale as the coach, he’s been very excited about the players, the young players that we have. “