Being an agent in the National Basketball Association is about to get really busy (and quite lucrative) over the next couple of seasons as a large number of high profile client's will be negotiating new contracts. Kobe Bryant has an opt out clause in his contract next season if he wishes. Elite point guards Jason Kidd and Steve Nash will need contract upgrades. Pistons pair Allen Iverson and Rasheed Wallace may also be searching for new teams. I think a few agents might be setting up shop in Utah of all places. Four of their top line players are in contract seasons. They future of the franchise is undoubtedly Deron Williams. But with his contract extension likely to go through the roof the Jazz won't be able to sign everyone. Mehmet Okur could be lured back to Europe which leaves the club to make a decision between keeping Carlos Boozer or a much younger prospect in Paul Millsap. Boozer has already been actively shopped. Is this the right move as a Mock GM though? I have not even begun to delve into the free agent class of 2010 where big names Lebron James, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade come on the market. Time to open up the checkbooks Gm's, or is it??
Day One- How you structure who you represent is important. I like to split my players into three groups. The first of which are players playing consistently well in their contract season. I would claim ten to twelve of these players with a view to negotiating their new deals in the offseason. I join leagues in need of agents. There is a lot of very productive FA's (Free Agent) and UFA's (Unclaimed Free Agent) that are available. Normally these players are Tier 1 contract types so I look to sign about twelve to fifteen if it's possible. Leaving about five spots for buyouts and players that could develop into something down the track. Amazingly Devin Harris has no agent and I quickly claim him. In his contract year he has finally begun to shine. With a proper preseason and with no coaches to hold him back he has been given the green light in New Jersey and done exceptionally well thus far. A second tier contract player has become the face of my agency.
Day Two- It's time to claim players in their contract seasons. David Lee from the Knicks is a virtual must. Playing on a depleted roster at the moment he is getting a lot of minutes to show his true worth. Paul Millsap has been described by one Western Conference team scout as a much better option then high profile Boozer when he is the line-up. The scout said his team actually preferred when Boozer was in the line-up because of his defensive short comings. Another contract year player Marvin Williams is also claimed. With Josh Childress gone and inconsistent Josh Smith re-signed it's time for the former North Carolina product to showcase his blue chip ability. The Indiana pair of Danny Granger and Marquis Daniels has impressed me. All of these players are Tier 2 types who will be looking to sign a Tier 3 contract in the off-season.
Day Three- A Mock GM contacts me for a possible buyout for Hilton Armstrong of the Hornets. I am happy to claim him and approve the buyout making him an UFA who can sign with any team. With Tyson Chandler consistently getting injuries I am confident Armstrong will play a role at some stage during the season. Time is on his side. I now look into claiming some FA's and UFA's who have been productive. Delonte West from the Cavs appears to be well over his depression issues and has been a very good in the clubs early season form. Quentin Richardson starts and gets a stack of opportunities on a depleted roster. C.J. Miles has been ultra impressive for the Jazz who are without Boozer. No wonder the Jazz were quick to match an offer sheet for his services in the preseason. Pretty smart considering half the team might not be there next year!
Day Four- I send offers to Mock GM's for my top FA's. I decide that Richardson is not really worth nine million a season and offer him for the mid contract exception. It's a personal preference as an agent to decide to hold onto the player as long as possible or offer him to clubs for fair market worth. You can always start low and once offers arrive re-negotiate a much bigger contract to interested parties. Or you can role the dice and wait until someone is prepared to pay maximum money later in the season. It really is an advantage for agents at a later stage in season when clubs are on the playoff bubble needing an extra push to qualify for the playoffs. Rather large offers are bound to be sent at that stage.
Day Five- An offer has been accepted for Richardson by the Nuggets Mock GM for the mid-level exception. I am not prepared to wait with Richardson because of his history of injuries and also the fact that once the Knicks have more options on their roster his production could very well drop away. I approve and everyone is happy. I claim young Warriors prospects Anthony Morrow and C.J. Watson. Morrow has the highest score by any rookie this season so far. He will though ride the pine when established stars are available but he has unlimited upside. It's noted that his real life agent needs to have a long hard look in the mirror when I realize that Morrow signed for next season for only 700k!
Day Six- I look to round out my agency by claiming interesting prospects Chris Quinn, Rasual Butler, Shannon Brown, Flip Murray and Gerald Green. All of these players can at certain stages throughout the season shine and have worth to Mock GM's. I also claim Eddy Curry as a potential buyout candidate. He can't play anymore, well not until he loses some weight and gets serious about it all. I claim my only third tier contract player in Lamar Odom. He looks like he could be moved before the deadline or he will walk during the preseason as a free agent. I have a bit of time for Raymond Felton and Drew Gooden as well. Both have been good this season and yes you guessed it, both are in contract seasons.
Day Seven- All of my FA's have offers sent to prospective Mock GM's. I am searching for four more Tier 3 performers to take me to the maximum of five for my agency but I can only find three acceptable ones for now. Andrew Bynum needs to negotiate a contract in this league. Ron Artest is one brain explosion away from a buyout. It's noted he signed one year deal in Houston. Hedo Turkoglu is in a contract year also and could be a buyout candidate in the off-season as he may head to Europe. As everyone can see my agency is heavily tilted towards players for next season when the real action begins!
Reflections & Tips My agency is well placed to help Mock GM's this year and next off-season in a busy marketplace. I have plenty of room to add players for potential buyouts. I also have scope to drop and pick up productive players if any of my represented players gets injured or under performs. That is really what makes being an agent most interesting. By trying to balance your agency with the right type of players you will be more active and help more Mock GM's.
You will have to do weekly research to improve your agency as well. I spent a fair bit of time finding out which players are in contract years and which are locked in for a couple of season and set my agency accordingly. This puts you in a position to be most beneficial to Mock GM's. It also helps greatly to know which players maybe moved before the deadline. Is that a good thing for them? Or will their production decline? This will help you in Mock GM leagues as well.
I often check message boards and league chats to see if anything needs doing. Try to develop a business relationship with active Mock GM's who need help and send some clients their way to improve their season. It will only increase your business.
It's a personal preference the style of which you manage your free agents. Some agents will only accept premium deals. It is not in the best interest of agents to accept and approve every offer that comes their way. You are in control and ultimately decide where players will sign. We have no concerns for salary caps or any such things. Our objective is to get the best possible deal for our clients and to be the best agent in our selected league.