Oklahoma guard Trae Young is expected to sign an endorsement deal with Adidas that could be worth upwards of $1.8 million annually, multiple industry sources told ZAGSBLOG.
Darren Rovell: The worst kept secret: Puma is back in basketball. Company signing their first endorser Walt Clyde Frazier to a lifetime deal. Releasing 73 limited editions pairs at place on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn today. New handle is @PUMAHoops.
Bleacher Report: It's the question on everyone's mind. Why Puma? Marvin Bagley III: I chose Puma because I wanted to be different. I saw an opportunity where I could come in and build from the jump and work to get to a certain level. I saw myself doing that. They have some real nice stuff. I'm very excited about it, and I can't wait to get to know everybody, keep working with everybody and keep improving.
B/R: Why is it significant for you to get in on the ground level with Puma? Deandre Ayton: I don't want to be under nobody else. If I'm over here trying to bring on my shoe, and you've got somebody like LeBron [James] out here, you got the [Kevin Durants] out there, I'm not trying to be really competing with those guys like that. It's always good to start your own thing and try to be great in it.
B/R: What kind of legacy do you want to create within basketball and sneaker culture by creating your own lane and signing with Puma? Bagley: I think that's big for me, personally. I love stuff like that—just being different, not being a follower and just being a leader any way I can. I remember when Lonzo and LaVar Ball first came out with Big Baller Brand and Lonzo's shoe, then LaMelo's shoe, everybody was bashing them for it and talking down on them for it. I kind of respected it, because it was different and it wasn't what everybody was doing. They were trying to do something good for Lonzo and the rest of the family. I just think being different is a big thing for me, and that's my motto. Be different. I had a vision, and I'm just trying to follow the vision and put as much as I can to it.
B/R: What can we expect from you and Puma? Is there a certain attitude or demeanor you want to display? Bagley: I want to show people that Puma is a big brand. It's a stylish brand. I've seen a lot of different stuff, and I think that we can work together and create a lot of different things. Everybody throws ideas in, and we can create. I think that's the main thing is to create and let people know that we're serious about it, and everybody will eventually gravitate toward it. That's the goal, to make sure everybody knows that we're here and it's going to be a long ride. It's going to be a fun ride as well.
Ayton shares a homeland connection to two of its biggest ambassadors, Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt and pop star Rihanna, after growing up in the Caribbean. "Puma is pretty popular in the Bahamas," said Ayton. "I've always seen the brand growing up. [Bolt] is one of the first people I saw with the brand. It's important to me that someone I identify with and admire as an athlete is with the same brand."
Michael Scotto: Deandre Ayton, the projected No. 1 pick of the 2018 NBA Draft, will be the highest paid player annually by a shoe brand in this draft class after signing a multi-year deal with Puma, a source told The Athletic. ESPN first reported the multi-year deal between Ayton and Puma.
Nick DePaula: As several top 2018 NBA Draft prospects sign their shoe deals this week — worth noting that Luka Doncic has 1 more year remaining on his existing Nike deal. He’ll look to establish himself with a strong rookie season and can sign a new shoe deal in Fall 2019.
Nick DePaula: Rising 1st round Draft prospect Zhaire Smith has agreed to a multi-year footwear & apparel deal with PUMA. The explosive wing measured a 41.5” vertical at the Combine, and ESPN’s @Jonathan Givony says Smith “could be the best athlete in the draft.”
Adam Zagoria: One industry source told ZAGSBLOG Bagley is expected to receive north of $2 million a year from Puma, which hasn't featured an NBA player since Vince Carter 20 years ago.
Adam Zagoria: Puma "is intent on making basketball work," industry source said. Sounds like Under Armour (and others) face a real threat.
Puma is also believed to be negotiating with several other high-profile prospects in an effort to make a big splash before the season starts. Carter signed a 10-year, $50 million contract with Puma after being chosen by Toronto in the 1998 draft, but the two sides split halfway through Carter’s second season. Hip-hop superstar Jay-Z and singer Rihanna are now on board with their own deals, making Puma a more attractive destination for youngsters than before.
Top NBA draft prospect Marvin Bagley III has signed a five-year footwear and apparel endorsement deal with Puma, ESPN has confirmed with multiple sources Thursday. As part of a plan to aggressively relaunch its basketball footwear business, Bagley was expected to be a featured athlete in several upcoming category and brand global initiatives.
Puma will also plan to sign additional rookies in the 2018 draft, before turning their sights toward signing several established players that have existing shoe deals expiring later this fall. The brand has found recent success and a resurgence in the marketplace thanks to partnerships with entertainment mogul Jay-Z, pop star Rihanna and several other endorsers in the lifestyle category.
It is the first NBA shoe deal for the brand since Puma had signed high-flyer Vince Carter two decades ago after the 1998 NBA draft. Carter's 10-year, $50 million deal was short-lived, as the two sides parted ways during the middle of just his second season.
Jon Krawczynski: Marvin Bagley, projected to be one of the top picks in the NBA draft next week, is going to sign a five-year deal with Puma that is expected to be the largest rookie shoe deal since Kevin Durant, sources tell @TheAthletic
Former University of Louisville star Terry Rozier has yet to reach a deal with a shoe company after being dropped by Adidas in May 2017, said a source with knowledge of the situation who asked to not be named. Rozier wore Nike shoes without a sponsorship deal during the regular season and the Boston Celtics' playoff run to the Eastern Conference finals.
This all might have caused some gnashing of teeth at Adidas, which terminated Rozier's deal over his wearing another company's shoes during a Celtics shootaround. In a letter dated May 26, 2017, Adidas notified Rozier that it was terminating his $300,000 deal.
The Big Baller Brand’s unveiling of LaMelo Ball’s “Melo Ball 1” shoe could turn out to be a game-changer in more ways than one. As LaVar Ball explained to a staffer at the Professional Basketball Combine in Florida—where LiAngelo Ball is due to audition on Wednesday—Melo becoming the first high-school kid with his own signature basketball shoe could spark NBA players, most of whom don’t have their own kicks, to seek out their own silhouettes. “Everybody gonna start going like this, ‘You know what? I want my own damn shoe,'” the Ballfather explained. “If I have Melo come out at 16 years old in high school with a shoe, I make all the NBA players look at Nike and Adidas and be like, ‘Where’s my signature shoe?'”
Rather than bide his time for Nike, Adidas or Under Armour to come calling with a contract, the Big Baller recommended that Wall put his own reputation and riches on the line to make a sneaker. “He’s an elite player and one of the best guards,” LaVar continued. “It’s like, ‘Dude, you’re a millionaire, make your own money’…Why are you waiting for Adidas or Nike or somebody to sign you to a shoe deal? The man’s an idiot.”
Nick DePaula: Great question. Luka actually has 1 more year on his existing Nike deal. Could work out great for him if he has a strong rookie year to be up for a new deal next year after establishing himself.
Once the dust settles from Tuesday's draft lottery (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) and teams are slotted accordingly, Young and his group will listen to sneaker endorsement pitches from companies beginning next week in Los Angeles. Nike, Adidas, Under Armour and Puma are all expected to present, with Young already having developed a level of familiarity with each brand. The 6-foot-2 Oklahoma native hosted an Under Armour exec for a private workout last month before grabbing dinner with his family and the exec later that evening. The next day, Young worked out in front of Adidas reps. Nike's sports marketing group checked out a workout as well.
Young and his parents, Ray and Candice, ultimately passed on Roc Nation, signing with Octagon Sports for his representation, but the Puma option is still very much on the table for the former Oklahoma guard who is widely considered the most marketable player in the NBA draft class of 2018. "There's a magic to certain players. There's an 'it factor' that's hard to quantify, and I believe he has that," said Omar Wilkes, one of the Octagon agents representing Young. "He's able to have that with his combination of passing, shooting, ballhandling and charisma. There's an effortless ease about him when he's on the court."
Adidas is expected to make Young a competitive offer, despite being in the process of revamping its basketball strategy in the aftermath of the ongoing FBI investigation into NCAA violations. The point guard is one of only five players Adidas is believed to be pitching on an endorsement deal, though the brand already features signature sneakers for three NBA point guards -- James Harden, Damian Lillard and Derrick Rose -- and recently re-signed John Wall.
Puma, the wild card in the mix, plans to present Young with a prototype of its upcoming fall basketball sneaker this week in advance of its official pitch. Then the Puma team will showcase its marketing plans, future product concepts, growth strategy and an overview of how the brand plans to re-engage in basketball. Puma has largely been removed from the NBA in this millennium, but has long been known for its history of wearable lifestyle products. More recently, a Rihanna-led women's franchise has helped uplift the entire brand. "This is their first real foray back into basketball since 1998 with Vince Carter," Wilkes said. "The possibility to be the seminal piece to re-establish that category for Puma is what's enticing."
That decision by Crawford to put real wear and tear on his $695 kicks will soon pay off in shipments of those shoes to sport for the Pelicans’ playoff run, with the potential for negotiations to continue over the summer. But as the 29-year-old Detroit native told HoopsHype.com‘s Alex Kennedy, his support for the Triple Bs is way bigger than basketball. “I see the vision. It’s a black-owned business and it’s entrepreneurship,” Crawford said. “It was smart that instead of signing on with someone else and letting that company use their likeness, LaVar just started a company of his own with his kids so they can use their own likenesses and take advantage of the opportunities. In this era, it’s like he’s taking people to business school without them having to sit in class, you know? It’s genius, for real.”
New Orleans Pelicans guard Jordan Crawford and his representation are in talks for a partnership deal with Big Baller Brand, sources told Yahoo Sports.
The company is expected to send Crawford new merchandise, including shoes, this week for the NBA playoffs. Crawford became the first NBA player — besides Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball — to wear the brand this season and has continued to do so in the postseason. At this point it isn’t a normal endorsement deal for Crawford, but he would sign a contract with Big Baller Brand down the line that would allow him to be under the brand yet have the freedom to pursue his own personal endeavors.
Crawford and the brand are expected to continue talks toward a deal, sources said. Big Baller Brand is an apparel company that was started by LaVar Ball and named for his sons, Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball.
Darius Bazley, who announced last month that he was forgoing his college eligibility to enter the upcoming NBA G League draft, could supplement his pro salary with endorsement deals, but has not begun that process yet, he tells ESPN "There's no shoe deal I'm considering," Bazley said. "I haven't been contacted by anybody yet."
While the draft likely won't be held until October, Bazley could begin making money now with endorsement deals, but he remains focused on his on-court prospects. "If the opportunity does present itself and I do have an agent by [the G League season], then we'll discuss things and try to get the best deal out of it for both sides," he said. "I'm still working on things agent wise with my family."
San Antonio Spurs star forward Kawhi Leonard will likely be pondering a super max contract extension over the summer, but off the court, talks between he and Jordan Brand on a new shoe deal have stalled, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.
Jordan Brand, a division of Nike, and Leonard's representatives came "very close" to completion on a new four-year extension worth more than $20 million. But discussions broke down abruptly because representatives for Leonard didn't feel that the new deal reflected the forward's accomplishments and standing within the league, sources said.
It's unclear whether Leonard intends to leave Jordan Brand when his contract expires on Oct. 1, but a source close to the situation said the shoe company owns the right to match any competing offers. Once the brand's exclusive negotiating window closes in July, Leonard and his representatives can start fielding potential new offers from other companies. Pitches are typically held in late August and early September, as players historically look to resolve shoe deals before the start of training camp in late September. Jordan Brand would have 10 business days to match any competing offer sheet signed by the forward. There are no current talks between Jordan Brand and Leonard's representatives, sources said.
Nick DePaula: Houston Rockets wing Gerald Green has agreed to a multi-year shoe deal with Adidas, worth six figures per year. Received multiple offers and deal was negotiated by @ISEworldwide. pic.twitter.com/vadDqwiVf4
Erik Horne: Paul George on Russell Westbrook Court: “It’s cool other than Under Armour. Other than Under Armour, it’s pretty nice.” George is a Nike guy. UCLA has an apparel deal with Under Armour.
Jay King: I asked Terry Rozier about the report Adidas terminated his shoe contract because he wore Nikes. "Sometimes your ex gets your number and they bring up your past," he said.
No active player sells more of his signature shoes than LeBron James, who has been in the Nike stable since he entered the NBA in 2003. King James’ earns more than $30 million annually from Nike, and his lifetime deal with the Beaverton, Oregon shoe giant could eventually net him more than $1 billion, according to his business manager Maverick Carter. James is the NBA’s highest-paid player for the fourth straight year at $85.3 million, including $52 million off the court from endorsements and royalties (Kobe Bryant was the last player to out-earn James).
Stephen Curry ranks second with earnings of $76.7 million. The two-time MVP signed the NBA's first $200 million contract last summer. The five-year deal guarantees $201 million from the Warriors. Curry's salary nearly tripled this season and is tops in the NBA for the first time. His endorsement partners include Under Armour, Chase, Vivo, eHi, Nissan/Infiniti, Brita, Bubble and JBL and will generate an estimated $42 million in off-court income for Curry.
Kevin Garnett is returning to AND1 for the first time since 2003. He’ll serve as AND1’s Global Ambassador as the brand gets ready to celebrate its 25th anniversary, about 15 years after he had two signature sneakers with AND1. “I’m thrilled to get back to my roots and partner with AND1, one of the best basketball brands in the industry,” KG said, via press release. “We have many initiatives underway that we’ll be launching, including my new capsule collection, which I’m particularly excited about.”
In early January, though, Wall announced that he was reuniting with Adidas. According to documents obtained by SI, Wall’s deal calls for him to be paid, in principle, a base of $4.825 million in 2017-2018; which then increases marginally and returns to $4.825 million in 2021-22. (While Wall will not have a signature shoe with Adidas, this deal permits him to collaborate on footwear with fellow clients like Kanye West and Pharrell, a likelihood, his representatives tell SI.)
Another significant term of the agreement pertains to Wall’s health. Under most footwear and apparel contracts, athletes face reductions and pro-rations when they are injured and unable to perform. But thanks to a bit of savvy by Wall’s representatives (or a curious concession by Adidas), Wall is subject to no reductions or pro-rations for the first two years. Not until 2019-2020, must he play a minimum of 60 games to avoid pro-ration. Wall’s new Adidas deal was announced on Jan. 7. On Jan. 30, Wall announced that he would undergo surgery on his left knee—described as a “clean up”—that would sideline him until March, causing him to miss up to 20 games, as well as All-Star festivities. (Through his agent, Rich Paul, Wall declined comment. Adidas also declined comment, citing the contract’s confidentiality provision.)
Rose’s agents were aggressively renegotiating his deal with Adidas, and during All-Star weekend Rose re-signed, consecrating one of the most lucrative endorsement contracts (reported to be worth $185 million over 14 years) in the history of sports. Recently SI obtained his 40-page contract with Adidas, and the document shows just how far shoe companies are willing to go to accommodate an athlete. The deal called for annual retainers of $12 million per season from 2012–13 until ’16–17. (This season, he is entitled to $11 million.) It also included annual royalties of up to $6.25 million per year, as much as $4.8 million in annual appearance fees and use of a private plane. (For comparison, SI has learned that John Wall's new Adidas deal calls for him to be a paid a base salary of $4 million). Reggie Rose, Derrick’s older brother, is paid between $250,000 and $300,000 annually as a consultant. Randall Hampton, Rose’s best friend since sixth grade and his assistant, is paid between $50,000 and $75,000 annually for “consulting” services. Adidas also pledged to contribute $150,000 annually to the AAU team of Rose’s choice.
Like most endorsement contracts, Rose’s calls for reductions and pro-rations. In this case, if Rose fails to make the All-Star team (as he has every year since 2012) or misses more than half the 82 regular-season games (as he did in ’12–13 and ’13–14 and is on pace to do this season), he can be docked pay. But unlike most contracts, Rose’s has clauses nullifying said deductions if he makes various promotional appearances.
Adidas’s treatment of Rose is especially perplexing given how closely the company has held other players to the letter of their contracts. On Jan. 18, 2016, Celtics guard Terry Rozier signed a deal that, according to documents provided to SI, guaranteed him $300,000 over three seasons. During the 2017 Eastern Conference finals, Rozier wore Nikes during a pregame shootaround. He changed into Adidas shoes for the game, but his public appearance in a rival brand did not escape notice. In a letter delivered by FedEx last May 26, Adidas’s legal counsel Monique Hawthorne notified Rozier, “Adidas is terminating your Agreement effective immediately.” (According to Rozier’s representatives, they plan to arbitrate Adidas’s decision.)
Derrick Rose’s agents were aggressively renegotiating his deal with Adidas, and during All-Star weekend Rose re-signed, consecrating one of the most lucrative endorsement contracts (reported to be worth $185 million over 14 years) in the history of sports. Recently SI obtained his 40-page contract with Adidas, and the document shows just how far shoe companies are willing to go to accommodate an athlete. The deal called for annual retainers of $12 million per season from 2012–13 until ’16–17. (This season, he is entitled to $11 million.) It also included annual royalties of up to $6.25 million per year, as much as $4.8 million in annual appearance fees and use of a private plane.
Adidas’s treatment of Derrick Rose is especially perplexing given how closely the company has held other players to the letter of their contracts. On Jan. 18, 2016, Celtics guard Terry Rozier signed a deal that, according to documents provided to SI, guaranteed him $300,000 over three seasons. During the 2017 Eastern Conference finals, Rozier wore Nikes during a pregame shootaround. He changed into Adidas shoes for the game, but his public appearance in a rival brand did not escape notice. In a letter delivered by FedEx last May 26, Adidas’s legal counsel Monique Hawthorne notified Rozier, “Adidas is terminating your Agreement effective immediately.” (According to Rozier’s representatives, they plan to arbitrate Adidas’s decision.)
Chase Hughes: John Wall said there could be John Wall 3s coming out as part of his new contract with Adidas, but he believes he will need to play his way into that.
After playing the past two seasons without a sneaker endorsement deal, Washington Wizards point guard John Wall has signed a new five-year shoe deal with Adidas, sources confirmed to ESPN on Tuesday. Terms of the deal, which was first reported by Yahoo Sports, haven't been disclosed, though Wall is expected to re-emerge with the brand as a headlining athlete for several of its new modernized lifestyle basketball silhouettes.
The four-time NBA All-Star returns to Adidas after a hiatus that saw him leave the company in late 2015 amid stalling extension talks. Shortly before being selected No. 1 in the 2010 NBA draft, Wall signed a five-year endorsement deal with Reebok that paid him a base salary of $2.5 million per year but could have ballooned to as high as $25 million in total through a variety of performance and sales incentives.
Shams Charania: Sources: Washington Wizards All-Star John Wall has agreed to a five-year endorsement deal with Adidas. Wall returns to the brand after testing shoe free agency over the past couple years.
Bad news for the Big Baller Brand ... at least one of Lonzo's Lakers' teammates says he won't be playing in the new ZO2s. We spoke with Julius Randle outside Mastro's Steakhouse in Beverly Hills -- when he told us he's got a deal with Nike ... and he ain't about to mess that up.
He is a spokesman for chocolate milk and an obscure — in the U.S. anyway — Chinese shoe company. He signed an $80 million, 10-year extension to wear the sneakers. “Life’s good,” Thompson said. “I never thought I’d get paid millions of dollars to wear shoes and apparel. I’m very proud to be a part of Anta. ... It’s so cool that I’m big in China. I never thought I’d be on billboards and posters in China.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo: Family. Loyalty. Legacy. Excited to announce my long-term partnership with @NikeBasketball #FamilyOverEverything #Antetokoumbros #OnAMission @thanasis_ante43 @kostas__ante13 @alex_ante29 @francisadetokunbo
Just as LeBron has been chasing Michael Jordan's ghost as the game's preeminent icon, Antetokounmpo is drawing comparisons to James -- on the court, at least. Though Antetokounmpo is starting to realize that his exceptional talent makes him a marketable product, his inclinations as a professional thus far bear little resemblance to LeBron Inc. Antetokounmpo will almost certainly be on a first name basis with the public -- as much a function of syllables as stardom -- but there are few entrepreneurial ambitions. At a recent round of meetings with leading shoe companies, representatives pitched Antetokounmpo by citing their campaigns and brand-building for other NBA stars. Antetokounmpo, according to those with intimate knowledge of the meetings, found the approach perplexing. These stars were his competitors, and the notion of using their brands or personas as a template seemed backward.
Me: I wanted to ask you about your shoe deal with Li Ning, and how you researched that before you decided. What was important to you? CJ McCollum: A lot of things were important. I think the biggest thing is going somewhere where you’re wanted and needed. I always say that mutual admiration. It’s kind of how I chose Lehigh, and Lehigh chose me. It was a situation where we both felt like we could help each other, help one another, them being a big brand in a place like Asia, having that big influence and being able to help them branch out to the United States -- more specifically, Portland, Oregon, and Canton, Ohio, and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Obviously those cities will become more familiar with the brand.
CJ McCollum: Overall, I’m thankful for the opportunity. As a kid growing up in Canton, Ohio, you never see yourself in a position to play in the NBA, much less have somebody pay you to wear shoes. It’s a blessing in itself. I’m just looking forward to the opportunity to represent a brand, and hopefully reach out and gain more information on them, and them gain more information on players in the United States, and little kids. Guys like DWade and ET (Evan Turner), guys who’ve been in the brand before me, have been very helpful telling me about the brand, and informing me on ways to improve. Telling me about what China’s going to be like, having gone there in the past. I’m looking forward to it.
Jovan Buha: Big Baller Brand is debuting the "ZO2 Collection" apparel line for Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball today at ComplexCon in Long Beach, Calif. According to the company, the "ZO2 Collection" is the first line of Big Baller Brand products to be offered wholesale to retailers. Up to this point, all Big Brand Brand products have been sold exclusively on BigBallerBrand.com.
Jovan Buha: Big Baller Brand is still in negotiation with retailers, so they can't speak on any potential partnerships yet, according to the company. The "ZO2 Collection" will feature a mix of activewear and street wear, including shirts, jeans, plaid flannels, track pants and joggers.
After receiving strong interest from several footwear brands, Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine has agreed to terms with Adidas on a four-year endorsement deal that could be worth as much as $35 million, industry sources told ESPN.
LaVine, 22, has yet to play this season as he recovers from a torn left ACL suffered in February, but hopes to be the future face of both the Bulls franchise and the Adidas brand. "I was looking for a partner that would grow with me as my career continues to unfold," LaVine said to ESPN. "Adidas convinced me that I have a chance to legitimately become a face of the brand."
The deal is also structured in a way to reward LaVine, a two-time Slam Dunk Contest champion who averaged 18.9 points a game last season with the Timberwolves, should he break out as an All-Star level player once he returns from the injury. "It's a different contract than anything we've done recently," said a brand source.
Financial details aside, McCollum was looking for a brand that would feature him and allow him to be involved in curating his own products going forward. Outside of creating his own custom colorways of Kyrie Irving's shoe on Nike's iD website from time to time, developing his own product would be all new territory for the rising guard, who was named the league's Most Improved Player in 2015. "I didn't know much about it at all, honestly," McCollum said of sneaker deals when he was first drafted. "Watching from afar, and being a fan from afar, I didn't necessarily understand the negotiating side of it and the contract structure of how players go from rookie deals to the next deal. As you go through the NBA, you get a decent understanding of it."
McCollum also got advice from Blazers teammate Evan Turner, who has a long-term deal with Li-Ning and happens to sit directly next to McCollum in the Blazers' locker room. "I just kept it real with him, what I liked about the brand and how I thought we could get better," Turner said. "As his star was rising, I told him I thought it'd be advantageous for him to partner with an up-and-coming brand."
Nick DePaula: Raptors All-Star guard @DeMar DeRozan agreed to a multi-year shoe deal extension with Nike before the season, and will wear custom Kobe sneakers all year. Good look at his grey/red Kobe AD PE tonight: pic.twitter.com/FJYh3tGOLd
Wasserman NBA agents completed more than half a billion dollars in playing contracts and shoe deals for clients in recent months. That number includes about $250 million in shoe contracts, including Phoenix Suns rookie forward Josh Jackson’s deal with Under Armour, which was announced before he was taken No. 4 in the draft.
They were not the only Warriors here mixing preseason basketball with the business of basketball. All-Star guard Klay Thompson has his eight-year, $80 million shoe deal with Anta, a Chinese-based company that hosted his promotional event in Shenzhen. All-Star forward Draymond Green is sponsored by Nike as well, though he turned his attention to the cap company, New Era, for a Friday event in Shanghai. “When we come over here and we have guys go to practice and they leave and say, 'I've got a Nike event over here, and I've got an Under Armour event over here,’ " Curry told USA TODAY Sports. "You just respect what everybody is doing, and we all have the space to impact people."
When Curry isn't wrestling for space in China with Bryant, he is burying the notion that a burgeoning shoe war with Durant could impact the Warriors' harmony. “This world is huge, and there's enough space for all of us,” Curry said during the trip that concluded on Sunday. “We're all different. We're all unique. We all have different stories, and we try to bring that to life with the things we represent from a product standpoint, and a brand standpoint. "(The idea of) whether it's a competition, or this kind of inner locker room rivalry, or a battle of whose shoes are the most popular and all that kind of stuff, it's not.”
CJ McCollum and Li-Ning announced Friday that the 6-4 guard out of Lehigh had signed a multi-year endorsement deal to join the Chinese sportswear company. McCollum, who was previously with Nike, now joins the likes of Dwyane Wade and teammate Evan Turner as NBA athletes under the Li-Ning umbrella.
CJ McCollum: I'm excited to announce my new parternship with the Li-Ning family. With hard work.. Anything is possible
Nick DePaula: Blazers guard @CJ McCollum confirms he's signed a multi-year shoe deal with Chinese brand Li-Ning. Nike had "matching rights" and declined to match. CJ will wear the YuShuai 11 and other Li-Ning sneakers this season.
Nick DePaula: CJ McCollum's Blazers teammate Evan Turner has been with Li-Ning since his rookie year and helped recruit and inform CJ about the brand. Other Li-Ning NBA athletes include Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem, Glenn Robinson III & Frank Mason III.
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.
Russell Westbrook, the NBA's reigning Most Valuable Player, will look to continue to establish himself as one of the league's top global superstars, inking a 10-year extension with Nike's Jordan Brand that will be the most lucrative total endorsement deal for a Jordan athlete to date, according to industry sources. After first signing a five-year endorsement deal in 2013, Westbrook has been positioned as the face of the brand and the annual Air Jordan model each subsequent season. During that stretch, he also elevated his game yearly as the franchise point guard of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
As he meets with brands over the coming weeks, LaVine is expected to decide on his next endorsement partner by the end of the month, eventually starting the 10-day clock for Nike to decide whether or not to match the contract offer. "For the next phase of his career, Zach is looking for an organic partnership where the brand's belief and vision is genuine and aligned with his," Namakian said. "He wants to be a creative and engaged partner working together in continuing to grow his brand globally."
After spending his first three seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, an offseason move to the Chicago Bulls could see Zach LaVine cash in as he looks for a new sneaker-endorsement deal heading into the 2017-18 season. The deal LaVine signed with Nike as a rookie expires at the end of this month, and the move to Chicago meant an overnight rise in intrigue from a handful of brands looking to sign him even as he recovers from February surgery to repair a torn ACL. "The interest in Zach from a brand perspective was instantly raised when he went from being the third option in a small market to the primary option in a legacy market," said Nima Namakian, LaVine's agent at BDA Sports.
However, Nike is expected to aggressively look to make its own initial offer in the coming weeks to retain LaVine. Adidas, looking to retool its roster of NBA players and add more explosive wing players, is also interested in signing LaVine, who wore adidas sneakers while at UCLA. Known by fans in China for his two instant classic NBA Slam Dunk Contest performances, LaVine has also emerged as the top target of Chinese brands Li-Ning, Anta and Peak. "He's the only player we'll pitch this year," said one brand source in China.
At the time, the brand had hoped that Timberwolves rising phenom Andrew Wiggins could fill that role, but internally there has been strong hesitation about whether Wiggins could carry his own signature shoe. Antetokounmpo's game is already more established and more accomplished, leading the company to look at making a massive offer that could steal him away from Nike. Adidas is enjoying momentum in other categories as a brand and hasn't been shy in offering monster deals in the past to its top priorities, such as the 13-year deal to Harden and the seven-year contract to Porzingis.
With his adidas deal, Mitchell joins a growing stable of very young, very cool players like Brandon Ingram, Jamal Murray, Kris Dunn, Jaylen Brown, Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins, James Harden and Damian Lillard. Considering he didn’t even think he would be in the NBA at this point, the fact that he’s got a sneaker deal is another milestone that came way quicker than anticipated. “When my agents and I were talking about the sneaker deal, I thought it was going to be the typical agent meeting where they promise you a shoe deal and you’re like, Alright, I’m not that good, this is for guys who are big-time,” says Mitchell. “So when it happened, I was like, Wow, you were right, it did happen! It was a no-brainer going with adidas and I’m blessed and happy to be in this position and hope to keep representing them for a long period of time.”
Antetokounmpo's days as a bargain are numbered, and not just because his 4-year, $100 million extension with the Bucks kicks in this fall. Once September comes to a close, his current footwear and apparel endorsement deal with Nike is set to expire, making him the clear-cut headliner of the available NBA players looking for a new shoe deal heading into next season.
"The bar was set with Porzingis, in terms of financials," says one brand source. Some industry sources feel the Greek Freak could be looking at as much as $7-10 million annually on a new five-year endorsement deal.
His jersey's got the Swoosh ... but Lonzo Ball says he's still a BBB guy at heart -- and the proof is on his feet. The L.A. Lakers rookie was at an NBA rookie photo shoot with teammate, Kyle Kuzma, when they started showing off their new Lakers uniforms, made by Nike.
Jeff Zillgitt: Under Armour makes deal with Dennis Smith Jr. official via press release. Company says Smith's attributes align with UA Basketball.
The most marketable NBA players are typically guards. Players with the ball in their hands -- explosive attackers with an endless flair to their game. As kids look up to and spend endless hours in front-yard hoops emulating their every move, brands are left constantly looking for the next great athletes who can translate into equally great endorsers. Dennis Smith Jr. checks all of those boxes, leading Under Armour to sign the Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard and No. 9 overall 2017 draft pick to a three-year footwear and apparel endorsement deal worth as much as $2 million per year with incentives, according to sources. The brand plans to incorporate him immediately as one of its key featured basketball players right out the gate.
"The first time that I saw Dennis Smith at camp was when Stephen ran out of the gym after he tried to dunk on somebody," Stone said with a laugh. "Dennis got so high -- his elbow was at the rim. It was unbelievable. That was my first time experiencing what Dennis can bring to the table in terms of explosiveness. The reaction that Stephen had was ridiculous. Stephen was coming off of an MVP season and an NBA championship, and here he is, watching a high school kid own the moment and respecting it."
If Lonzo Ball had been interested in signing a traditional endorsement deal, brands were expected to initially offer at least $1.5 million per year. That would be in line with offers made to fellow rookies Markelle Fultz, De'Aaron Fox and Josh Jackson. After being drafted by the Lakers as the second overall pick, Ball's base number realistically could have escalated to more than $2.5 million per year, according to multiple brand sources.
After each stateside brand passed on expressing interest, Big Baller Brand engaged China-based athletic brand Anta to discuss a potential partnership. Anta currently has traditional sponsorship deals with Klay Thompson and Rajon Rondo, and made signature shoes for Kevin Garnett for his final seven seasons in the league. After a "round of conversations," according to a source, Anta declined repeated requests for a follow-up meeting after Big Baller Brand presented them with a private label manufacturing concept.
Since launching the $495 pre-order edition of the ZO2 sneaker, along with an autographed $995 "collector's edition," Big Baller Brand is on the hook to both manufacture and deliver the shoe to customers by the Nov. 24 promised ship date. More than 700 pairs have already been ordered. All things considered -- sky-high price, six-month shipping delay, brand that has never before made a shoe -- it's a respectable number that beat out the expectations of several rival industry sources.
Asked whether there's still a chance that a big shoe brand can sign his son Lonzo Ball, LaVar responded: "If the price is right. Quite frankly we are officially in the shoe game, and are a billion dollar brand either way."
September 20, 2021 | 1:33 pm EDT Update
Marc J. Spears: Warriors are working out free agent guards Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley & ex-Warrior Quinn Cook among others this week, sources told @TheUndefeated. Warriors would like to sign a big man & 2 guards for camp. Workouts will include 5-on-5 games with a diverse group of free agents.
Marc J. Spears: Also told Warriors have sincere interest in @Isaiah Thomas, sources said. The injury plagued two-time NBA All-Star told @TheUndefeated he is “fully healthy now and can do everything I used to do and more.” Thomas says he physically better now than in 2017 and is dunking again.
Marc Stein: The expectation remains, one week out from 76ers media day, that Ben Simmons will choose not to report to the team’s training camp, league sources say. But the Sixers, sources say, remain intent on trying to convince Simmons to report. More NBA from me at marcstein.substack.com
Frank Ntilikina: 4 years, 4 years already… I remember the day of the draft like it was yesterday, One of my childhood dreams then became reality. Playing for the Knicks has truly been a blessing and an amazing experience. You welcomed a kid who just left home in order to pursue his dreams and goals, and to continuously grow. I could not ask for more. I would like to thank the entire franchise, the coaches, players, all members of training and medical staff and all the people who work hard every day for the success of this organization over the years. Last but not least, to all the Knicks fans around the world… Thank you ! The support has been amazing from day 1. Wins and losses, highs and lows, we have all seen one thing for sure, and that is that the passion and the love for basketball stays unbeaten through it all. I am leaving now to open a new chapter in my journey, forever grateful for the opportunity. The French Prince 🇫🇷👑 @nyknicks @thegarden @msgnetworks #NewYorkForever
Malika Andrews will host a new daily NBA studio show for ESPN after Rachel Nichols’ “The Jump” was canceled amid controversy in August, the Washington Post’s Ben Strauss first reported Monday. The one-hour “NBA Today” will debut Oct. 18 and air at 3 p.m. every week day on ESPN, ESPN confirmed in a release. The panel of analysts joining Andrews consists of former NBA players Vince Carter and Kendrick Perkins, who were both featured on “The Jump”; current WNBA player and radio host Chiney Ogwumike; and writer and podcaster Zach Lowe.
September 20, 2021 | 8:16 am EDT Update
UNICS Kazan announced the signing of former Milwaukee Bucks and Dallas Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo. The 33-year-old veteran will make his european debut in VTB League and the EuroLeague this season, signing a one-year deal with the club. Mayo has 573 NBA games under his belt, with the Memphis Grizzlies, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Dallas Mavericks, averaging 13.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.0 steal per contest.
“Shabazz Napier underwent a comprehensive examination. He has a rather serious injury to the ligaments of the right ankle joint. On the positive side, I can say that there is no fracture and, therefore, there is no need for surgery, of the minuses, the recovery time is still unknown. We have all the necessary conditions to get him back on the floor quickly. All is needed is the support of the fans,” general manager Alexander Tserkovny said. Napier moved to Europe after six years in the NBA and showed promise in front of the season. In the first VTB SuperCup game, against UNICS, he banked in 33 points on 8-11 shooting including 6-8 from deep. He also dished out four assists during the 30 minutes on the floor.