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Thursday, May 17
Updated: June 28, 1:09 AM ET

Agents' commission not quite pro bono work
By Darren Rovell

Reeling in the top prospect doesn't pay the great dividends that it used to only a decade ago.

Negotiating a contract for a top-10 pick this year will net an average agent commission of $31,550 per year for three years.

That's because player agents receive 4 percent of the difference between the minimum rookie salary (20 percent less than the scaled amount listed per year) and the maximum (20 percent more than the annual scaled amount). An agent negotiating a veteran player's contract can earn 4 percent of the deal's total value.

Since almost every first-round pick receives a salary that is 20 percent more than the scale each year, the No. 1 pick in this year's draft likely will make $11.92 million over three seasons. The agent's share would be $158,990, or $52,996 per year. Meanwhile, an agent that negotiated a $11.92 million for a veteran would make some $476,971 on a 4 percent commission from the deal.

Therefore, profiting is dependent upon an agent retaining the player until he becomes a free agent.

"It's my understanding that most agents don't charge for rookie contracts," said agent Lon Babby, who charges an hourly rate for all services, a practice he says saved Grant Hill $3.5 million in commission fees alone on the $90 million contract he signed this past offseason.

"But in return, there is some kind of moral imperative that the player will be around for his free agent contract," Babby said, "and that the agent will be appropriately paid for that."

Luckily for Babby and the other NBA agents out there, agent turnover is not as common in the NBA as it is in the NFL.

NBA Rookie Salaries
Pick Team Player Agent
No. 1 Washington Wizards Kwame Brown Arn Tellem (SFX)
No. 2 Los Angeles Clippers Tyson Chandler Jeff Schwartz (AMG)
No. 3 Atlanta Hawks Pau Gasol Herb Rudoy
No. 4 Chicago Bulls Eddy Curry Arn Tellem/Thaddeus Foucher (SFX)
No. 5 Golden State Warriors Jason Richardson Dan Fegan
No. 6 Vancouver Grizzlies Shane Battier Lon Babby
No. 7 New Jersey Nets Eddie Griffin Arn Tellem/Thaddeus Foucher (SFX)
No. 8 Cleveland Cavaliers DeSagana Diop Leon Rose
No. 9 Detroit Pistons Rodney White Jeff Schwartz (AMG)
No. 10 Boston Celtics Joe Johnson Arn Tellem/Thaddeus Foucher (SFX)
No. 11 Boston Celtics Kedrick Brown Arn Tellem/Thaddeus Foucher (SFX)
No. 12 Seattle SuperSonics Vladmir Radmanovich David Bauman (SFX)
No. 13 Houston Rockets Richard Jefferson Todd Eley
No. 14 Golden State Warriors Troy Murphy Dan Fegan
No. 15 Orlando Magic Steven Hunter David Odom
No. 16 Charlotte Hornets Kirk Haston N/A
No. 17 Toronto Raptors Michael Bradley Mark Bartelstien
No. 18 Houston Rockets Jason Collins Arn Tellem (SFX)
No. 19 Portland Trailblazers Zach Randolph Michael Harrison
No. 20 Cleveland Cavaliers Brendan Haywood Jeff Austin (Octagon)
No. 21 Boston Celtics Joseph Forte Jeff Austin/Andre Colona (Octagon)
No. 22 Orlando Magic Jeryl Sasser Jimmy Sexton
No. 23 Houston Rockets Brandon Armstrong N/A
No. 24 Utah Jazz Raul Lopez David Bauman (SFX)
No. 25 Sacramento Kings Gerald Wallace Arn Tellem/Rob Pelinka (SFX)
No. 26 Philadelphia 76ers Samuel Dalembert Marc Kornstein
No. 27 Vancouver Grizzlies Jamaal Tinsley Raymond Brothers
No. 28 San Antonio Spurs Tony Parker Mark Fleisher

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