When a player signs a huge contract, the immediate focus is always on the player: after all, it is their hard work and basketball abilities that earned them the contract. But there are also the people behind the scenes, who make sure that their clients get the best possible deal from NBA front offices. Those people are the agents in the NBA. It is their job to get their players paid immense amounts of money for their performance on the court.
An agent that has recently gained some prominence is Alex Saratsis, the representative for All-Stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bam Adebayo. This past offseason, both players signed staggering extensions with their teams, highlighting their status as some of the best players in the NBA. Those extensions together were worth $423 million: Saratsis clearly did his part of the job well. Recently, Saratsis spoke to Adam Caparell of Complex Sports about his experiences during the offseason.
“When I’m negotiating with teams in free agency, being blunt with the client and being blunt with the team makes it easier to get a deal done,” says Saratsis. “So what do you prefer? To be honest and know what your value is? Or the BS? There’s no question I have to tone down the bluntness because it’s counterproductive, but it’s the way that I’ve always been.”
“I have a real relationship with Alex,” Adebayo told Complex Sports via email. “Most guys don’t have that type of relationship with their agents. He relates to me not only as a player, but as a person. I look at him not only as my agent, but more like a brother.”
Alex Saratis’ negotiation tactics highlight his bluntness, but to some people, that’s just plain honesty. It is often wise to skip over the unimportant things, and get right to the point. Being honest with all parties facilitates better communication between players and franchises, which lets everyone make the decision that’s best for them. That honesty builds trust between him and his clients, and we see Bam Adebayo praise his agent for being relatable. It seems as though Saratsis cares about the happiness of his clients, as much as he does getting them paid.
“I don’t think people understand the kind of relationship me and my family has with Alex,” Antetokounmpo told Complex Sports via email. “He is as close to family to me as anyone that is not blood related can be.”
“The most important thing he told me is that he wanted me to be happy, and to be comfortable with my choice,” says Antetokounmpo. “We talked about every single option for months, but at the end of the day he knows me, and knows what matters the most to me and my family.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo signed an extension that was worth $228 million this offseason with the Milwaukee Bucks. He could have left to another team, but elected to stay in Milwaukee to finish what he started. Giannis Antetokounmpo made the best decision for himself and his family: Alex Saratis merely helped that decision along with his negotiating skills. Saratsis knows that it is players that get him paid: he even says so himself.
It’s hard to argue with his methods when his results could end up netting Antetokounmpo and Adebayo a combined $423 million. Make no mistake—it was his clients’ immense talent and super-bright future that ultimately got them paid, not Saratsis’s sweet talking during negotiations with the Milwaukee and Miami front offices. And Saratsis knows it.
Alex Saratsis may not have been a household name in the NBA, but with the two contracts he got for his clients, he has put his name on the map. Alex Saratsis is an elite agent and one who skips all the formalities and gets to the point. Honesty begets honesty in client-agent relationships, and it seems that being blunt has been working for Saratsis so far.