Way back in 1999, nine million blog years ago, NBA fans learned just how many players lived paycheck to paycheck. Despite their multimillion dollar salaries, these guys still needed to get their checks to pay for their houses, cars and various friends who were on their payrolls. It’s this knowledge that leads a lot of people to assume that this season’s lockout will progress in the same way, eventually ending when the players realize they need to play basketball to make money. And even though the players union warned its players that they’d need to save money to tide themselves over during a work stoppage, these people’s assumptions will likely prove correct.

Except in the case of four lucky dudes who signed up with a smart agent before this whole thing came to fruition. They’ll be doing OK no matter what. From USA Today:

Los Angeles Clippers forward Al-Farouq Aminu wants to play basketball next season. But if he doesn’t, he isn’t overly concerned about his financial situation.

The Clippers’ Al-Farouq Aminu is one of a handful of players who will continue to get paid if the NBA lockout stretches into the upcoming season.

Aminu, a rookie last season, is one of four clients of agent Raymond Brothers who spread their 2010-11 salaries over 18 or 24 months to continue receiving paychecks if the league-imposed lockout forces the cancellation of games.NBA

Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph, Dallas Mavericks forward Caron Butler and Detroit Pistons guard Ben Gordon, all Brothers clients, have similar setups.

If games in 2011-12 are lost, “They will not know financially that they’re in a lockout,” Brothers said. “If there is a lockout, you’ll able to pay your bills. And you’re already used to a certain way of living because your paychecks will be consistent.”

Well played, Raymond Brothers. That’s how you get more players to sign more contracts in the future. When all these other guys are dipping in to their savings and selling their least favorite private jets, the Brothers bros will be enjoying their standard paychecks and all that that entails. Smart.

And it’s way smart from the players’ perspectives, obviously, having the foresight to agree to a contract that would pay them less bi-weekly but ensure that they’d keep their cash flow steady. Maybe that means they only bought one case of premium caviar per month, but it means they can keep buying those fish eggs from now until next season is over. Plus, and this is a total guess but it makes sense, whenever the next season starts, you have to assume that these players will get their 2011-12 paychecks while still bringing in their 2010-11 dollars at the same time. That’s double money and that’s when you splurge on the second gigantic 3D TV.

Great strategy, Raymond Brothers. You can be my NBA agent any day.

(via BDL)