With basketball season getting into full swing, one player for the Detroit Pistons who is feeling the uncertainty of having a non-guaranteed contract is Josh Harrellson. The center has been in this position before. A year ago, when he was playing for the Miami Heat, he was denied a guaranteed contract and offered a 10-day one instead. He left the National Basketball Association for a Chinese squad, and then came to the Pistons, with a $884,000 contract – only $150,000 of it guaranteed.
He is not alone. Many NBA players have no guaranteed contract. There are 15 players on the Detroit team alone in that position. However, any of these players who is still with the team on Jan. 10 will have a guaranteed contract for the remainder of this season.
Harrellson says he is more confident of his prospects than he was in Miami, because he has had more chances to get out on the court and show what he can do. He has been averaging over 10 minutes of playing time per game, with a 40 percent success rate on his three-point shots. He says he plans to just keep doing what he's doing. Detroit sports writers like his chances too, since he's a valuable back-up player for the team.
While athletes' employment contracts are more lucrative than those of most employees, they are still based on performance and their value to the franchise, just as the majority of employee contracts are. Professional sports teams have legal teams experienced in crafting these agreements, while most professional athletes have legal advisors working to help ensure their best interests before they sign on the dotted line.
Source: mlive.com, "Josh Harrellson's contractual week of reckoning works in his favor with Detroit Pistons this year" David Mayo, Jan. 04, 2014