Storyline: Sneaker Deals

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For many years, sneaker companies primarily went after guards. In recent years, unicorns like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant have emerged, so now brands target “perimeter players.” However, with Joel Embiid getting his first signature shoe later this year and Zion Williamson just signing the richest rookie deal since LeBron James, could this be the year that big men prove that they can sell shoes and force companies to update their approach? “Joel Embiid’s signature sneaker is going to be a really interesting case study because there’s no current center that has a signature shoe, so we’ll see how that does,” DePaula added. “What Joel brings is his ability to go viral on social media whenever he wants. I think there’s some validity to the phrase, ‘Big men can’t sell shoes.’ It is fairly true. We’ll see if Joel can break the mold because, historically, it’s been challenging for them.”

Interestingly, some companies include a small-market reduction as well. Just as brands give players a bonus for being in a large market (such as Los Angeles or New York), they’ll significantly dock their pay if they land in certain small markets. Players are essentially being fined for ending up in a small-market city, even if it’s not the player’s choice. “I’ve seen some brands include a 20-percent reduction for landing in certain small markets,” DePaula said. “I know for a fact that one brand had Sacramento and Orlando among others on that list of markets.” “Yes, that’s definitely a clause that exists in contracts,” one shoe-companyexecutive confirmed on the condition of anonymity. “There are bonuses or reductions based on the player’s market. If the player goes to a major market like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago or Miami, the brand is going to get more exposure. They’ll be playing in more nationally televised games and get more media coverage.”

Keep in mind, this is all up for negotiation, so an agent can push back against a small-market reduction if they don’t want it in the contract. “It’s a give-and-take,” one NBA agent said. “If you’re going to allow a reduction like that to be put in place, what are you getting in return that makes it worth it to include that? The main reduction incentives that you see in sneaker contracts (and all endorsement contracts) are related to injuries. If a guy isn’t playing, there are opportunities for brands to roll back their pay. There are also moral clauses, where the player’s contract could be affected if the player does something of moral turpitude.”

“You try to find what the market is and while it’s not definitive like it is when you’re negotiating an NBA contract, you hearrumors and dig for information to find out what other players were paid,” said a top NBA agent. “You also have to talk to every company. By having conversations with every company as opposed to just one or two, you get a valuation and understand what the market will bear for that particular client.” “Larger agencies have a clear-cut advantage when determining market values for players,” former NBA agent Matt Babcock said. “They will naturally have a better grip on the marketplace, as they engage in more negotiations with each shoe company due to representing more clients.”

The biggest difference between rookie deals and veteran deals is that the former is all about projecting a prospect’s upside and marketability (like NBA teams do in the draft) and the latter is about evaluating a proven commodity (like NBA teams do in free agency). And unless a top pick develops into a star, they will likely earn less money on their second sneaker contract. “I think the second deal is often more of a rude awakening for guys rather than a raise,” DePaula said. “Top prospects get paid a lot and then some of those deals look bad very quickly. There’s one rookie who was a top pick in recent years and he got $2 million per year, but months into his NBA career, the company was realizing, ‘This deal isn’t going to work out.’ That player will most likely get a merch deal when his deal is up. Rookie deals are kind of a crapshoot.”

New Balance will continue to expand in the sport of basketball by announcing a new multi-year partnership with the NBA. As part of the new agreement, the sportswear brand will be able to create authentic broadcast, digital and retail content featuring New Balance-sponsored athletes wearing their respective NBA uniforms and team logos. The partnership will officially start with New Balance’s upcoming “We Got Now” campaign that features the reigning NBA All-Star MVP, Kawhi Leonard inspired by his journey of becoming the best in the game. The campaign will air during the Denver Nuggets v.s. Los Angeles Clippers game on Feb. 28 at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

By 2018, concurrent with the R&D team, New Balance began pitching potential endorsees with the goal of bringing a shoe to market in October 2019. Remember, the typical turnaround is a year and a half. These early pitches didn’t have prototypes or samples. It was all theoretical, just hope and hunger waiting for a chance to come to life. During this time, the design team received word that Kawhi Leonard was on the radar. Usually a player of this caliber doesn’t ever hit the free agency market, but he had turned down a four-year, $22 million extension with Jordan Brand in March 2018 and the company announced that it would let him walk in October 2018.

“We went from the world not knowing about New Balance Basketball in October (2018) to ‘Can we get him in a New Balance shoe by the All-Star game in February (2019)?’ ” Grondin said. “I’ve been enjoying it. One of the reasons that I came is I wanted to build and start something of my own,” Leonard explained in late January, after being asked why he chose to sign a multiyear contract with New Balance in the neighborhood of $5 million annually. “Start with this new company in basketball and they’ve been great. And we’re going to keep building this relationship from here.”

“We’re not going to turn Kawhi into an Instagram comedian,” Cassidy said when asked about the brand’s conscious decision to heavily lean into Leonard’s eccentricities. New Balance followed that up with another billboard, this one reading “Board Man Gets Titles,” a reference to a story by The Athletic that went viral last season. Merchandise followed in the form of plain black t-shirts with “Fun Guy” in the most ho-hum box lettering imaginable.

Not even now that he’s a slam-dunk champion. Not even after signing a new endorsement deal over the weekend with Puma, which also inked a deal with Heat rookie Kendrick Nunn. The only things Jones Jr. is changing are people’s perceptions that dunking is all there is in his game. Jones Jr., the Heat’s high-flying forward who turned 23 on the night he soared over teammate Bam Adebayo and others on his way to his first dunk title, something he longed to win ever since coming up short in the competition in 2017, isn’t preoccupied with what the critics say.

What does that player need to be to earn a signature sneaker? Harden: The whole package. Westbrook: You can’t just be one-dimensional. I didn’t deserve a signature shoe for a while, because I didn’t earn it. But I’ve earned my way, and now I have my own. I’m realistic when it pertains to that. Some players just get a shoe. Like James said: You gotta have the package. The fan base. Your play gotta speak, obviously. Outside of basketball, whatever else you got going on. You gotta be “that guy” to be able to have a shoe. Because nowadays everybody got a shoe. [laughs]

Derrick Jones signs deal with Puma

With nearly 6.5 million viewers tuned in to an epic dunk-off between Aaron Gordon and Derrick Jones Jr., the 2020 slam dunk contest helped launch each player not only to new heights on the hardwood, but also in the marketing world. In the aftermath of his narrowly claimed slam dunk contest win, Jones signed a multiyear footwear and apparel endorsement deal with Puma, adding the 6-foot-6 high-flyer to a select group of NBA and WNBA athlete partners with the company.

Gordon will be putting on that show in a customized “Kung Fu Dunk” colorway of 361’s latest “Big3” sneaker, featuring a support panel styled after the opening number of its name. The tongue icon incorporates his new “AG” circle logo with subtle yin and yang nuances, while the vivid purple and orange colors serve as a nod to his home state. “It’s a California sunset,” Gordon said. “I’m a California kid from the West Coast, bringing a little flavor to the East Coast.”

Gordon met with 361 in September and the two sides began targeting this weekend for finalizing a deal, allowing Gordon to debut his new shoe in the dunk contest. Next season, Gordon will become the 18th player with his own signature shoe. The forthcoming “Zen-AG” sneaker incorporates his Orlando Magic colors through a swooping and flowing design, with an ice-blue bottom and pinstripe accents. “It’s unreal,” Gordon said. “As a kid growing up, that’s what I wanted and what everyone wants — a signature shoe deal.”

Coming off of a breakout season as a member of the Raptors’ vaunted Bench Mob, VanVleet had just signed a new two-year contract and was hanging out-slash-celebrating in Las Vegas during Summer League. Among other young players who might fit the company’s new vision for the brand, they had eyes for VanVleet. Garnett remained a powerful tool for getting the ball rolling. “K.G. was just getting back in the picture. They had K.G. running, like, the head of brand direction, so I got to sit through a meeting with him, which was cool. At Summer League, up in the concourse, while the games were going on,” VanVleet said. “They offered a nice deal, and I liked the direction.”

“Whereas if I was signing with a big company, I would probably have to forfeit my own personal brand, or at least sell the rights to the logo. We’ve seen that a couple times in the last few years and it’s something that I’m not really that interested in. It all just made sense and it was an easy decision. They were very supportive of me and my personal brand and empowering me and giving me resources that I needed to do what I need to do on the side. It didn’t interfere at all, so that was that was a big selling point for me.”

In the summer of 2018, two top Under Armour executives traveled to the West Coast on a critical mission. Kevin Plank, the sports apparel company’s founder and chief executive, and Patrik Frisk, its president and chief operating officer, needed to persuade Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors star and the company’s highest-profile endorser, not to leave the brand. The two sides had grown increasingly frustrated with the relationship, said two former Under Armour executives familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the previously undisclosed meeting. In 2017, Mr. Curry took public exception to a comment by Mr. Plank calling President Trump “a real asset” to the country, prompting the executive to take out a full-page newspaper ad to explain what he said about Mr. Trump “did not accurately reflect my intent.”

At the meeting, participants found a solution that would showcase just how much Mr. Curry meant to the company. Mr. Plank and Mr. Frisk agreed to build a separate business around him, one reminiscent of what Nike had done for Michael Jordan two decades before. The company brought on the former executive who had overseen the creation of the Jordan brand at Nike to run the Curry brand and promised Mr. Curry much more involvement in the development of his shoes. Mr. Curry decided to remain, and a crisis was averted.

Jimmy Butler a sneaker free agent

Miami Heat small forward Jimmy Butler and the Jordan Brand have mutually agreed to part ways, bringing his multi-year footwear and apparel endorsement deal with the company to an end 10 months before its original September 30, 2020 expiration date, industry sources have confirmed. The split would make the four-time All-Star and four-time All-Defensive wing the highest profile sneaker free agent across the league. Butler is expected to now begin discussions with multiple brands towards negotiating a new multi-year endorsement deal that would begin this season, potentially in advance of All-Star Weekend.

That’s a big number for a player that yet to play a game in the NBA, but the $100 million would likely be over a 10-year period. That means Ball would get paid $10 million annually over the next 10 years from his shoe deal alone. While that wouldn’t be the richest rookie shoe deal in NBA history, it would be up there. Plus, the number of years would be unprecedented. This could ultimately just be a leak from Ball’s camp to rev up the bidding war for the youngest and arguably most famous Ball brother’s signature, but one thing’s for certain: Ball will have no shortage of options by the time draft night rolls around.

Before the Mavericks traveled to Toronto on Saturday, Luka Doncic emerged from the team’s hotel in Philadelphia wearing a Jordan-brand winter coat. Doncic also on Saturday posted a photo on his Instagram account of himself wearing blue Jordan shoes. It certainly seems like more than a coincidence and, indeed, a source close to Doncic told The News that negotiations with Jordan Brand on a multi-year contract have heated up and soon could reach fruition.

Although Nike retained a few players, most of its marketing dollars were allocated to Jordan, and it paid off. The Air Jordan Is debuted in March 1985, and by the end of that year, according to Darren Rovell, the Jordan franchise had generated more than $100 million in revenue. “We were sad, but we saw the potential for Michael when he was coming out of college and playing for Team USA in ’84, and he was an exciting new player on the market, so we couldn’t blame Nike for putting all their eggs in that basket,” says Thompson, who later signed with LA Gear. “I used to tell him, ‘Man, you’re the reason why Nike cut me.’ I would tell him, ‘They choose the wrong Michael.’ ”

New Balance Basketball announced today the endorsement deal with San Antonio Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray. To officially welcome him to the New Balance family, Murray is featured in a new commercial spot where he “inspires us with a little motivation” and reveals the black and white OMN1S colorway “Lights Out” launching globally December 4th. The commercial’s tone is tongue-in-cheek, set by Murray naming himself a “hair icon” – but his message is from the heart. He dispenses motivational tidbits like “success isn’t a straight line” and “find your own path”, but these truisms find real meaning for a player like Murray, whose road to starting point guard has been anything but conventional. Before Murray earned a reputation as a rising star in the league and an endorsement deal with global athletic leader New Balance, he had to first put in the work.


Every sneaker blog has covered your sneaker free agency. ‘Where is PJ going?’ ‘Did you see PJ rock Puma’s?’ What made the free agencies of Gilbert Arenas and Kobe Bryant so legendary? Do you remember anything about them? PJ Tucker: Gilbert wearing those Dolce & Gabbanas was legendary. I will never get that aggressive in my life. That was crazy. What’s funny ever since I became a free agent, everyone has been like, ‘why you don’t wear Gucci’s’ and all this craziness. I can wear a lot of different stuff, but I don’t know if I can do that. That was big. Even Kobe when he left Adidas and before Nike that was huge. Kobe came with the A.I. Reebok Questions in a Lakers’ colorway and even the Jordan III’s that was crazy.

Why should a brand invest in PJ Tucker? PJ Tucker: Honestly with me, I don’t know if anybody else is a bigger brand ambassador than I am. When I am with somebody, I roll with them. I believe this wholeheartedly, when I believe in something, I rock with it, and I think people see that. I think that is the biggest thing people see. For me, it’s not like a LeBron situation where it’s like monumental. He’s this one-of-a-kind athlete that is the face of the brand—I am like an everyday dude. I am like the dude walking down the street, it just so happens that I can guard people and make threes.

A lot of kids growing up who want to play in the NBA mention they want their own signature sneaker. Why is that something you don’t want? PJ Tucker: I don’t want my own shoe. That is something I have never wanted. If anybody is pitching that, I would say no. I feel like that is the only thing that limits me, being a signature athlete, because you have to wear your signature shoe all of the time. I don’t want no parts of that. What makes me standout is the versatility to be able to do everything.

However, one thing Tucker hasn’t been able to do is wear anything other than shoes made by Nike and its subsidiaries. That changed on Oct. 1, when his previous endorsement deal with Nike expired. And while he remains one of the most sought-after free agents among sneaker brands, Tucker is taking a different approach, planning to enjoy his sneaker free agency over the coming months before finalizing his next deal. “I just really like being free,” Tucker said. “I have to catch myself sometimes, like, ‘Oh, I could wear these now if I want to.'”

As it happened, Looney was in the practice facility last year and Thompson wasn’t. Looney was eyeing the pile of Anta shoes at Klay’s locker. Looney, who previously wore Adidas, was a sneaker free-agent-to-be and on the market for a shoe deal. He said his camp had already made preliminary contact with Anta about a potential relationship. So his curiosity was especially triggered. Plus, Klay wears the same size as Looney — 15. So Looney went shopping at Klay’s locker. “I’m about to steal all his stuff,” Looney said, recalling his thoughts. “So I took about four or five pairs of shoes.” Looney called Klay and snitched on himself. Klay, of course, said he didn’t care. However, Looney confessed to taking one pair of shoes. It was actually closer to five. He took several pairs of the KT4 shoes. He also nabbed a pair of the KT2 “Splash Brothers.”

Kevon Looney signs with Anta

Looney’s search for a shoe contract took a bit longer, but he’ll be wearing Anta for at least the next two seasons. “The most important thing about a shoe is comfortability, and also being able to last throughout the game and take care of your feet,” Looney told NBC Sports Bay Area. “I feel Anta does the best job of that. “Also, I like to wear crazy colorways. And Anta has been doing a great job with new colors and creating funky designs. That’s something I was looking for. I saw all the design options they had, and I was ready to sign up.”

In June, Harrell inked a partnership with AND1, the NBA footwear and clothing brand that built an iconic legacy in the late 1990s and early 2000s with its summer mixtape series and partnerships with culture-setting athletes like Kevin Garnett, Ben Wallace, Jamal Crawford and Stephon Marbury. Harrell is now the face of AND1 and works alongside Garnett, the company’s creative director and global ambassador, to launch new shoes and products. Harrell will exclusively wear AND1 sneakers next season, but will still switch out his shoes for a different pair at halftime. Off the court, he’s allowed to wear non-AND1 shoes (so, no, he won’t be selling off his impressive collection of Jordans, Nikes, Adidas, etc.). He has a potential collaboration with Wallace in the works and will be wearing exclusive colors of AND1’s new model, the Attack 2.0, to start the season.

This year’s footwear class could feature the most potential since 2012, when Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, James Harden and Dwyane Wade were all up. Of the four then-Nike athletes, two switched to Jordan Brand, Wade opted for a lucrative deal with Li-Ning, and Harden re-signed with Nike for just two years, before bolting for a 13-year deal with Adidas in 2014. Once again, each of the top five players in this year’s class are currently under contract with Nike. The brand would ideally like to keep all five: Devin Booker, Luka Doncic, Kyle Kuzma, D’Angelo Russell and PJ Tucker.

Other players around the league expected to draw interest include Marcus Smart, as Boston-based Puma has already moved into the lead to eventually sign the nearby Celtics guard. Though talks are ongoing, he was spotted walking into USA Basketball’s welcome gathering clad in Puma gear, then laced up the brand’s Uproar sneaker in white, blue and red to kick off USAB training camp. Thanks to their overnight free-agency haul, LA Clippers shooter Landry Shamet is also hitting the market at an ideal time, potentially able to take advantage both of the team’s LA market size and their expected chance to contend for a championship right away this season.
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March 31, 2020 | 3:31 pm EDT Update
March 31, 2020 | 3:14 pm EDT Update
Stephon Marbury: I know that was something that people were saying that people didn’t need, but that’s a strong need. One of the things that I learned and saw from living in China and being here is that when the virus outbreak arrived, everyone wore a mask because nobody knew who had the virus. … People cough all the time. When people were saying to me, ‘Oh, you don’t need a mask.’ They’re probably saying that you don’t need the mask from a doctor standpoint. But you don’t know which person has this virus and people sneeze and cough and talk all the time. So, are you going to stop that? For me, knowing that was one of the main things that was needed from being in America and being out in New York and seeing how many people were walking around looking at me when I had on a mask, like, ‘Why you got a mask on?’ And I’m like, ‘You should have a mask on. It’s so important. It’s so vital.’
Storyline: Coronavirus
Stephon Marbury: So, the Brooklyn borough president, he reached out to me about helping him source some masks and other things. My focus has been on the mask and there are other things that I’m trying to help for the medical staff. They need robes, they need the gowns, the goggles, all of these different things are needed. And you know, I have friends that know people [in China] in all of these different areas at the manufacturer. So, I’ve been pretty much speaking to them and trying to accumulate and get everything from my country, for Coney Island, for Brooklyn, for New York City. It’s been a real challenge for me seeing all of us going on where I’m from. Anybody that knows me know how I feel about Coney Island and about New York. I’m a real New York kid.
Stephon Marbury: I lost my cousin to this virus. My little cousin [former NBA guard] Sebastian [Telfair] has an older brother. We lost him two days ago. His mom is fighting for her life right now because of the virus. So, it’s pretty difficult in this trying time and staying on focus and trying to handle the things that I need to handle for my mom and them. They’re nervous about my aunt. … For me being here [in China], my family there, I’m constantly thinking about my mom. My mom is 78 years old. She has respiratory issues. We can’t even allow nobody to come near our home with my mom. My brother doesn’t go next to my mom. My sister doesn’t go next to my mom because we’re just so nervous about it. I’ve got an older brother that’s 60 years old. … I literally have family members that are in a space where my aunt is fighting for her life. And her son just passed away while she’s in an induced coma. She doesn’t even know. My family is just like on pins and needles with what’s going on.
DID YOU REACH OUT TO THE NBA ABOUT COVID-19? Stephon Marbury: I sent [NBA commissioner] Adam Silver an email March 8. I said in the email, ‘You guys got to stop.’ I said, ‘This is not good. You got, like, 17,000, 18,000 people going to games and people don’t know if they’re infected or not. This could happen. One of the basketball players can get infected. Anything can happen.’ He was like, ‘Stephon, thank you for so much for sending me this email.’ My concern is for everybody. It’s bigger than basketball. You got guys getting sick and they can’t play. I mean, what’s the use? There is no point or no purpose. I think that it’s going to be a really big challenge for the [NBA] season to get going this year.
Storyline: Coronavirus
March 31, 2020 | 2:03 pm EDT Update
SB NATION: I’ll begin with a question I find myself asking just about everyone I talk to these days: How are you staying safe? And, did you consider traveling home once the NBA allowed its players to do so, or just bunker down and stay put? PAT CONNAUGHTON: I stayed in Milwaukee. I tried to look at it from a variety of different angles. For me, I’m from the Boston area and Massachusetts was arguably hit worse than the majority of other places, so going home didn’t really make sense for me, for my own health but also for the safety of my family. We’re fortunate to be in the NBA. We might as well stay close to our team just in case, God forbid something does happen and we need access to doctors, we have team doctors. If we need access to food for some reason, the chefs are trying to help us out when they can. There’s different things that I think teams are doing to help their players that stick around.
Storyline: Coronavirus
SB: Being part of such a special season with the Bucks, how often do you think about the possibility that the season is over, and how you might never get an opportunity to finish what you started? How difficult would that be, given all the hard work that was put in and what the expectations were? PAT CONNAUGHTON: It’s tough because you look at it from a few different lenses. You think seasons like this don’t come along every year, so if it ends that’s gonna suck. To be honest. But when you look at it from the lens of an athlete you’re like we, as a team, are very good. What is preventing us from doing it again next year? Obviously we would be disappointed, we’re having a great year, etc. But maybe it just makes us hungrier next year. Maybe it’s fuel on the fire, as opposed to something else. Giannis will be a year older, a year more skilled. We’ll all be getting better. If you look at it that way you can throw some positive light to it.
PAT CONNAUGHTON: The other light you look at it, just being open and honest, there are guys that are on contract years. There are guys that, I mean, personally I don’t have a technical contract for next year or anything. So you look at it like how does it affect free agency? How does it affect the salary cap? What does our team look like next year if the season were to end and not continue, and the playoffs weren’t to happen and there weren’t a champion to be crowned. I think all of those are unknown. I could sit here for 24 straight hours and put down a sheet of paper, pros, cons, all these different scenarios, but I don’t think that does me any good. We don’t know. Nobody knows. The NBA is full of much smarter people than myself. Adam Silver is great. The owners are all very smart guys. The general managers are very smart guys. Obviously the player’s union, Michelle. Chris Paul. All them are very smart. I believe the best interest of as many players as possible and all the teams and the league itself will be what’s most important and what will be accomplished. So for me to worry about those sorts of things, sure, but at the same time it’s not gonna help me. I’m not gonna figure out, sitting in this apartment in the next month and a half, what the answers are.
March 31, 2020 | 12:24 pm EDT Update
Isaiah Thomas: “I was a junior when I entered the draft. I had a year of eligibility left. I wrote down my pros and cons — all the good things by putting my name in the draft and all the negative things that could possibly happen, which can go from not getting drafted to going in the second round to getting drafted and then there being a lockout and no money coming in, and not knowing what to do next. My final decision was that I’m going to just bet on myself. I’ll figure things out. I just felt like college wasn’t going to do anything for me going forward. But on the back end of things, yes, the lockout was on my mind.”
March 31, 2020 | 10:36 am EDT Update
Borrego liked the contrast of styles: the run-and-gun Nuggets against the behemoth Lakers, starting the Pau Gasol-Andrew Bynum mega-frontcourt. Bynum averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds per game for the series, and put up a triple-double — including 10 blocked shots — in the Lakers’ Game 1 win. “A lot of our guys probably don’t even know Andrew Bynum,” Borrego said. The series was also incredibly physical. The offensive teams rebounded almost 37% of all misses, a mark that would lead the league today by a laughable margin. The teams combined for 47 offensive rebounds in the Lakers’ 96-87 win in Game 7; Gasol had six — all in a row — on one pivotal fourth-quarter possession. “Part of this is to show them what physical playoff basketball looks like,” Borrego said. “This is where we want to get to someday. Let’s study it.”
All the players said they enjoyed learning more about the classic NBA characters in that series. Obviously, today’s players love watching peak Bryant — now more than ever. Bynum has become something of a curiosity. “People forget how good Bynum was,” Zeller said. “He was a monster.” Caleb Martin said he was surprised at the speed and athleticism of a young Danilo Gallinari, playing almost full time as a wing. “You know of these guys, but you never sit down and actually watch them play a full game,” Cody Martin said.
On a recent episode of The Lake Lake Show podcast, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report suggested that “it could be three or four years until the league is back in balance”. Pincus also went into depth on how the NBA will return. Where he stated that the league are considering canceling games. Which will create financial implications for players, even more so the high-end stars like LeBron James. “Players typically get paid on the 1st and 15th of every month and the 1st would be a full check. But the league hasn’t committed to the 15th… it means they’re considering canceling games. Because by the rules, they can’t dock players for games that are rescheduled. They can only dock from players for games that are canceled.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
“If they were going down that path they might start with canceling a few games. Why cancel a lot, right? There’s no reason to until you have a better feel. I could see them canceling 3 games and start deducting 3 games worth of money from each player’s check. For someone like LeBron James, that’s in the neighbourhood of $400,000 per game. So you’re talking about deducting $1.2 million from LeBron’s check. So it’s not a small amount.”
March 31, 2020 | 7:46 am EDT Update
ESPN’s NBA insider Brian Windhorst, on his recent podcast, expressed his thoughts what the offseason will most likely bring to big name free-agent DeMarcus Cousins. “I think DeMarcus Cousins is looking at a make good contract, even if it’s more than a minimum. I think that after a series of injuries he’s had, all of which indicates that he’s coming back too fast, doing too much, he needs even more time of coming back from this. He’s gonna have a job in the league, but I don’t think it’s gonna be a big money,” the NBA insider said.
The Brooklyn Nets are expected to continue to reshape their roster around Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. “I believe they have telegraphed they intend to use some of their young talent to acquire a third star along with Kyrie and Durant,” said Brian Windhorst. “Now, we can get enter a healthy debate here about whether Caris LeVert is that third star and they make the decision that he is. But my feel reading the tea leaves, paying attention to what Sean Marks has said and also being aware of some conversations they had at the trade deadline, which was sticking the toe in the water on some things, I think they’re going to swing for the fences whenever the season comes. They’re going to have to potentially hire a coach that is going to help them do that.”
Joe Harris is a pending free agent, one who likely will get a big raise this summer. But the sharpshooter wants to re-sign with the Nets, partly to take a shot at a title playing alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. “Yeah, definitely! Why wouldn’t you?” Harris asked rhetorically before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Storyline: Joe Harris Free Agency
On the Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis duo: Jason Terry: “They’re still headed down as one of the all-time dynamic duos in the history of the game, if they continue to win and then have success in the playoffs, and hopefully take us to another NBA finals and win a championship. Because they’re so young. When you have two young stars as KP and Luka, and the talent that they possess, they have yet to really reach their full potential and I think the chemistry that they’ve gained this season by playing together is going to continue to grow.
Jason Terry: “KP is learning that ‘hey maybe it might not be at the four position, maybe at the five position where I can be most dangerous and effective.’ Luka is also understanding ‘hey I might not have to take over an entire ball game, I can kind of conserve my energy and be the closer very similar to what Dirk [Nowitzki] was and kind of let KP get off early in games.
Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic was all set to make his triumphant return on Sunday, Mar. 15 against the Houston Rockets. It was a home game for the Blazers. An early matinee game on national television. It was 10 days away from Nurk’s one-year mark of his leg injury. And to the Bosnian Beast, it was a “perfect” game to make his debut for the 2019-20 season. In choosing that day to return, it was a collective effort by Nurkic’s camp along with the entire Trail Blazers organization. In a recent interview with NBC Sports Northwest’s Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes, Nurk detailed what went into the decision making of that game.
Bosnia-Herzegovina is 9 hours ahead of Portland, OR; thus, the timing of a noon tip-off in Rip City also worked out great for his family and friends back home. It was an earlier game Sunday, and of course, I need to look [out] for my people back home. It was perfect for them too. It was like 8:30pm back home. So, everybody was pretty much set up and I thought it was a really good game because it was [a] home game and I really wanted to play [at] home first. — Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic told our Dwight Jaynes
After his teenage brother Dorian tragically died of heart disease, Dawkins tapped into his basketball network to pay for a memorial and an AAU team in Dorian’s memory. He says he quickly raised more than a hundred thousand dollars from some of the most important people in the sport. His network mattered. Before long, NBA agent Andy Miller noticed Dawkins and hired him. Fast forward a few years and Dawkins is at the NBA draft, barely legal to drink, sitting in the green room with Miller and Elfrid Payton’s family. Rodney Hood, Fred VanVleet … Dawkins was instrumental in directing their careers, in the belly of the basketball beast. “Everybody knew Andy was paying players,” Dawkins says in “The Scheme.” “Andy’s been paying players since I was born. It wasn’t, like, a secret.”
The president of the Spanish Basketball Federation, Jorge Garbajosa, wants to ensure the future of the National Team bench and for this, a new contract extension could be offered to Sergio Scariolo until 2024, according to AS.com. The Italian coach’s agreement with the Federation would come to an end after the 2020 Olympics. However, with the current worldwide health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the postponement of the Games in Tokyo until 2021, a new scenario is created.
Storyline: Olympic Games
Every bit of help is key amidst this coronavirus pandemic, whether it’s food, cash or medical supplies. The Nets, Barclays Center and Alibaba — all owned by Joe Tsai — have been providing all of the above. With live sports shut down and teams and arenas getting squeezed economically, many hourly workers have been laid off or face pay cuts. But Nets and Barclays Center employees are getting the same checks they would have if they’d worked events as scheduled through the end of May. And it’s not just NBA games, but concerts, Islanders games, college basketball like the A-10 tourney and even graduations. A source familiar with the unions and the overall process told The Post the checks cut could end up totaling an estimated $6 million.
“We discussed supplies. I want to thank Michael Evans from Alibaba, who is here with us today,” Cuomo said at Monday’s press briefing. “I want to thank Elizabeth Jennings [the chief of staff] from the Asia Society, who is here with us today, who are helping us source supplies.“We’re in a situation where you have 50 states all competing for supplies, the federal government is now also competing for supplies, private hospitals are also competing for supplies. We’ve created a situation where you literally have hundreds of entities looking to buy the same exact materials basically from the same place, which is China.”
ABC/ESPN’s highly anticipated 10-part Michael Jordan documentary, “The Last Dance,” is being moved up to April, The Post has learned. Sources said the start date will be Sunday, April 19. It was originally slated for June. ABC/ESPN plans to make an announcement on “Good Morning America” on Tuesday, according to sources.
There are a couple possible reasons for the delay. The first is obviously coronavirus. We talked before about the delays and pushbacks we’d see in production with factories in China being shut down over the virus. Some of those are up and running again, though, so this might not be the case. The second is Nike still might not know what direction they want to go in with Kobe’s line — especially since resellers gobbled it up. Coming up with a strategy for the future of the line is imperative.
It looks like a facsimile of the Kobe VI plastered on top of the LeBron XIII lows. It’s a clunky and low cut which is never really a good combination for a hoop shoe. It’s important for Nike to get things right with Antetokounmpo because of his status in the landscape.of his sport now and going forward. Getring it right with him isn’t as easy as it seems. Giannis is ostensibly a big man with guard skills — even more so than LeBron James. On the other side, Zion Williamson is the future of Jordan Brand and he has the same problem.
March 30, 2020 | 9:31 pm EDT Update
The Utah Sports Commission recognized Gobert for his excellence on the court, as well as his impact on the state of Utah. Gobert has established Rudy’s Kids Foundation which supports charities that directly impact the lives of youth in Utah, as well as a program that donates money to ShelterKids and Salt Lake County Youth Services, and the Utah Refugee Connection with every blocked shot Gobert records on the floor.
Khem Birch was one of the key pieces of Canada’s squad during the 2019 FIBA World Cup, and felt playing under Nurse did wonders for his professional development. After spending some time learning from him, Birch now understands why Nurse is viewed as one of the NBA’s top coaches. “Team Canada has a lot of potential, especially with coach Nurse. With the roster we had, I think he did a really good job, and I imagine if we had all our guys I think we would have won the whole thing,” Birch said during an interview on Sportsnet 590 The Fan’s Good Show Monday.