Simply making it to the league is no guarantee of a lucrative sneaker deal. NBA players are discovering it’s harder to score the big contracts that some of their predecessors landed. “The biggest misnomer is that everyone is getting a lot of money and everyone is getting paid,” Octagon agent Alex Saratsis tells Sole Collector. “Now, these shoe companies are very methodical in whom they go after. If they can add an extra million to KD’s compensation or LeBron’s comp over adding a bunch of guys that won’t push product, they will. Very few guys are getting paid good money to endorse shoes.”
Once it comes time to negotiate a new—or first—sneaker deal, agents know what to expect and can set proper expectations with players. Generally speaking, all three companies will come in with similar figures and guys will choose based on either loyalty or product preferences. But sometimes the money simply is higher with one company. Adidas, for example, has started throwing more cash around as they’ve exited the NBA uniform sponsorship in lieu of signing individual contracts. “If one shoe company is offering a contract wildly above market, no matter your loyalty you will go with that shoe company,” Saratsis says. “If you talk about the #1 pick in the draft, they go to the highest bidder.” When you move into the late first-round or second-round guys and the deals dip into $30,000 cash plus $30,000 worth of product, that’s when loyalty or preference falls back in line.
Liz Mullen: ESPN broadcaster Stephen A. Smith switches agencies; signs with Creative Artists Agency in all areas. SBJ: bit.ly/2cWMJpt
ASM SPORTS: Thank you KG. Loved on & off the court, a role model, & one of the most influential players to ever play the game. #TeamASM #FamilyFirst pic.twitter.com/P6XOnihhQj
Armstrong wouldn’t guarantee an injury-free campaign but said Rose’s seriousness toward rehab is never an issue. He also raised the notion Rose’s slithering-to-the-basket, physical game is also a factor in why his return to All-Star level has taken longer than others.
“You can do everything you can and things happen,’’ Armstrong said. “One thing I’ll never question is his preparation for the season. It certainly won’t be for a lack of trying. “His style of playing is different and that hasn’t been discussed. That’s what makes him unique. I can’t recall another guard who plays like that. You might see some running backs who are very physical running backs. That’s going to have an impact on how he comes back compared to a running back who uses speed and quickness.’’