Nike has a match clause in its expiring deal with Antetokounmpo, giving the sneaker giant 20 days to match any offer by a competing company. Antetokounmpo said Thursday that he’s not close to a decision yet, but he’s been enjoying the ride.
More Rumors in this Storyline
“All those things are fun,” Antetokounmpo said. “It’s fun to be a sneaker free agent. You get a lot of shoes and you keep a lot of shoes — I give a lot of shoes to my brothers. It’s fun. My family going through that experience with me has been amazing. I want to thank everybody that tried to support me and my family, from Nike, from Adidas, from Li-Ning, all those people that are basically my family. I haven’t decided yet, I’m not even close yet. … I’m not in a rush right now, I’m just focusing on basketball.”
Nick DePaula: If Giannis signs with adidas, Nike still has a “match clause” on the deal. If they pass, he’d likely wear Crazy Explosive Low this season.
Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is spending the week walking through brand pitches from companies looking to position him as the future of basketball — a sharp rise for a 22-year-old player who only entered the league in 2013 as an unknown prospect from Greece.
In conversations this week with Adidas, Nike and Li-Ning, each is offering a signature shoe that would likely launch during the 2018-19 NBA season. For this upcoming year, he’d lead a series of player exclusive editions in Bucks hues of each brand’s current featured models, like the Adidas Crazy Explosive 2017, Nike Kobe A.D. or Li-Ning Yu Shuai 11.
While the incumbent Nike and potentially poaching Adidas are the two mainstays in the conversation, Chinese brand Li-Ning remains a dark horse to take seriously. The company’s last major signing was then-Heat superstar Dwyane Wade in the fall of 2012, but it’s looking to refresh and re-energize its roster of athletes. The offer the company is expected to make would certainly rank highest among the three pursuing brands at more than eight figures annually. The contract could also possibly feature an equity or stock component.
The “Greek Freak” kicks of a new four-year, $100 million deal with the Milwaukee Bucks next season. Antetokounmpo will also likely be armed with a new shoe deal. He is by far the hottest free agent this summer in the sneaker market and insiders think he could command a deal of at least $8 million annually and potentially over $10 million if everything breaks right. Credit his age, 22, and unique skill set, which has made him one of the NBA’s most alluring young stars.
Storyline Hype Rumor visits per day for the last week
Views per day
October 17, 2017 | 10:28 am EDT Update
“Gotta take this one,” he said. When he stepped outside, the name on the screen gleamed back at him: Chris Paul. “I’m in,” Paul said. “What do you mean you’re in?” Harden asked. Harden and Paul were friends, and they had traded texts throughout the season. CP3, he knew, was examining his pending free agent options, and Harden was hopeful Houston was on Paul’s short list, but he was in the dark about where Paul was leaning. “I mean I’m in,” Paul repeated. “I want to come to Houston. I want to play with you.”
“We talked about it, but there was no answer to it,” D’Antoni says. “I wanted him to be MVP. I told him, ‘Let’s go for it.’ But having that and the majority of the offense in his hands was difficult.” The burden, Harden concedes, was too weighty. “It’s pretty tough to be depended on to make every single play,” he says. “It wears on you when you don’t have someone to relieve some of that for you, when you don’t have that guy who you can throw the ball to for three or four possessions in a row and say, ‘Go make a play.'”
“LeBron’s my man, but he didn’t know,” Paul says now. “I didn’t tell him initially because even though we’re so close, we’re also ultracompetitive.” Twenty minutes later, Paul finally revealed his secret. LeBron’s response? He ordered shots of Don Julio 1942 tequila and clinked glasses with his friend. “Be happy,” LeBron said.
While Stephen Curry has won two MVPs, he believes he may be entering his absolute prime. “I hope it is,” Curry told The Athletic. “You go through this NBA journey and every year you learn something else about yourself, about your team, about being an NBA player. Using all that experience to my advantage, the work you put in off the court in the summertime to get yourself ready. I don’t know exactly where the peak is, but I do think I’m the best version of myself to date.”
Game-worn jerseys from the four teams playing on the NBA’s opening night will be auctioned to raise money for hurricane recovery efforts. The NBA and Turner Sports, which will televise the Cleveland-Boston and Golden State-Houston doubleheader on TNT, will use the auction to benefit the One America Appeal. Besides the jerseys, the auction will include items such as game-worn sneakers and autographed items donated by Turner commentators.
With his 15th NBA campaign in store, LeBron James is not just looking ahead to another season in which he can “strive for greatness,” as he often puts it. This year, he’ll also set the mark for the longest-running continuous signature shoe line in league history (Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls career ended with his 14th Air Jordan shoe in Utah). “No one has ever reached number 15 before LeBron,” designer Jason Petrie said. “So it’s a big deal, and we want to make a celebration of technology, style and of LeBron’s game.”