NBA Agents Talk Offseason, Finances, Execs, More

NBA agents are generally in agreement that the 2020 offseason will be an unusual one due to the coronavirus pandemic and its ripple effect, but they don’t all agree on what exactly the offseason will look like.

Ben Standig, Mike Vorkunov, and other writers from The Athletic conducted a survey of 20 player agents to get their thoughts on the coming offseason and state of the NBA. And while some of those agents believe financial concerns will limit player movement this fall, others believe there will still be plenty of movement — even if it doesn’t happen in free agency.

“My fear is there will be a lot of teams and ownership groups that sit out free agency,” one agent said. “… In terms of player movement, I think there will be a lot. Not just signing guys. Nobody wants to pay the tax. Everybody is going to try to clear space for 2021. I can definitely see a sizeable amount of player movement. But not a lot of dollars spent.”

One agent who spoke to The Athletic suggested that some teams will be in cost-cutting mode and, for financial reasons, may move players they wouldn’t have traded in a normal year. However, another agent believes there will still be plenty of clubs willing to spend to compete for the postseason and for a title.

“Teams want to win and they’re going to spend to win,” the agent said. “Ultimately, as we saw with Denver, there’s a lot of teams within striking distance of contention and they’re not going to be cheap. The Clippers fired a coach with two years on his deal. We’re going to be fine.”

As for how many NBA franchises will be in legitimate financial peril during the coming year, one agent is skeptical that any will actually be in trouble.

“They’re going to blow so much smoke up our a– about how bad the business model is and everything like that, but Minnesota is going to sell for $1.5 billion and it’s the worst market, as far as basketball,” the agent said. “They sold 18 years ago for $88MM and they’re going to sell for $1.5 billion? You can’t tell (me) you have a bad business.

“There’s going be revenues that are greatly reduced, but I would say to any of these teams that feel like these businesses that they can’t pour cash into to carry it through this rough spot, they should sell. Because they have opportunities. We’ll find them a buyer in a month.”

Here are a few of the other most interesting takeaways from The Athletic’s agent survey:

  • Thunder point guard Chris Paul is the highest-profile player that most agents expected to be traded this offseason, while the Sixers are considered the team most in need of a major roster move. “Philly is at the point where it’s a make or break year for just about everybody,” one agent said.
  • Of the 19 agents who weighed in on the subject, 18 said they expect Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo to remain in Milwaukee beyond his current contract.
  • LaMelo Ball comfortably received the most votes as 2020’s most intriguing draft prospect, but he’s viewed as a somewhat risky investment. “I think he has such a high ceiling but the difference from his top to bottom is the biggest of anyone in the draft,” one agent said. Another offered the following assessment: “That could go really good or really bad.”
  • One agent said he has “never heard less enthusiasm” from teams that have high picks in this year’s draft.
  • One agent speculated that centers will be hit hardest by teams’ financial limitations this offseason, since clubs are focusing on players who can defend several positions. Another said that he thinks many clubs may prioritize veterans over young prospects, since cost-conscious teams may not want to use back-of-the-roster spots on guys who won’t play at all.
  • Thunder GM Sam Presti easily received the most votes as the NBA’s “smartest” team executive, but Pat Riley of the Heat and Masai Ujiri of the Raptors got more votes when agents were asked which exec they’d want to hire if they were running a franchise.
newest oldest

13 thoughts on “NBA Agents Talk Offseason, Finances, Execs, More

    • Sillivan

      I always believe that Giannis will sign extension with Bucks regardless of fans vote

    • Sillivan

      Heat and Lakers have opened the big mouths and wait to eat Giannis for free

  1. Sillivan

    Presti trades for 15 First round picks and still tie 4th seed

    Rockets traded 5 future first obligation and tie for 4th seed too

  2. Strike Four

    Of the 19 agents who weighed in on the subject, 18 said they expect Thunder star Kevin Durant to remain in OKC beyond his current contract.

    • x%sure

      It is confusing to some how Giannis & Durant are different people, but that’s the case. Indeed they are people in the first place not objects, so idealogues are lost.

  3. x%sure

    Some takes from TA that I might agree with… the article is all anonymous quotes from

  4. x%sure

    … agents. [Not going well so far.] They sound like fans about the NBA and its bubble, varying widely on the political aspect:

    “•[The NBA is] at the forefront. Other leagues and industries followed them. That will happen again next year when they figure out how to get fans in the stands. Plus they helped create the saliva COVID-19 test. Now, maybe the bubble was overboard seeing as how MLB and the NFL seem OK without. The bubble isn’t completely sustainable for players. I think when some teams lost, some players felt like they won.
    • “Flawlessly. They gave the players a voice, which is important. Created a space that was safe for everyone involved and the games were at a high level. The fact that there were no major injuries or players forced to sit out with COVID shows the steps they took worked.
    •”They haven’t cut any corner in any way. I think when all is said and done, they will have spent somewhere around $200 million to $250 million to kind of pull this off. I don’t think it’s been exactly what everybody ideally would’ve wanted, but… They got an amount of buy-in from the players that I didn’t think they were going to be able to do. I thought there would be way more issues. But the players really rolled with it to a degree higher than I thought they were capable.
    •”… I was very skeptical just because you have 6,500 employees working there and, ‘Okay, how do you keep them from giving it to these players?’ They go home every night. Adam Silver never said if any of those people actually did get COVID but … ”

    Getting more & more negative:
    •”They initially did a great job by putting the bubble together and they completely sh_t the bed with all this nonsense. They really hurt the business … All of this Black Lives Matter stuff … I think that the players are being manipulated into something that they don’t really understand and I think it’s a horrible look for the league and they need to be very clear about the organization, what they stand for … If that’s what the NBA wants to align with, they’re really hurting themselves … They’re not helping the players, they’re hurting the sport. When the ratings are down 30%, who are you helping?”

    Nobody said what I said, that it was too slow to unroll, like by months… all the time with nobody trustworthy saying anything will be different, virus-wise, in a year or two… So why not get it done with? The whole BLM aspect could have been done without if the bubble started soon enough, like June.

    Because it wasn’t about police brutality or whatever. It was always about covid19, that then got converted to a cause, social justice, since players became anxious & confused with the lockdown and a couple semi-killings about the same time.
    Some players have lawbreaking backgrounds. Consider “the chosen one”, gregarious, now walking about the compound alone, understanding what his relations knew about losing freedoms, walls closing in.
    There was no NBA concern about getting the thing over with, just milking for money. All the games to see was nice but it took so long and had too much messaging.

    Sorry about the length but HR seems to not want article controversies.

  5. Reflect

    Presti is definitely not the smartest GM lol people act like the Thunder aren’t the ones that signed Westbrook and Paul George to their ridiculous contracts in the first place.

Leave a Reply