Storyline: Sneaker Deals

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One reserve player who has a deal with Nike revealed that he gets free shoes and he’s also given a $20,000 allowance that he can use to shop online. He can buy anything on the website with that money, even shoes and clothes for women and children, so his friends and family can use it too. The deals vary depending on the player. “It is tougher with lesser-known players,” another agent confirmed. “However, you can find local deals for a lesser-known player, even if they have trouble getting national deals. There are always exceptions too. There are a few factors that can help. For example, what does the guy’s social media look like? Maybe he’ll have a big following from his time in college, which can really help. I think it just depends. You can get endorsement deals for lesser-known players, but I do agree that the national deals are typically reserved for All-Stars and high-profile rookies who are just entering the league.”

B/R Kicks: Everyone is going to want to know the same thing. Why Puma? Terry Rozier: Me signing with Puma is basically letting you know, I’m taking over the Puma world. You got guys taking over Adidas, you got guys taking over Nike, whatever. I’m competing with the Puma world and I’m taking over that s–t. From the jump. That’s my whole thing. I feel like I’m going to turn it up because—I ain’t gonna knock nobody on Puma, but I feel like I’m very marketable, I’m the guy that they needed to sign.
2 months ago via ESPN

One company with strong interest in Hayward is New Balance, which would look to re-launch its dormant basketball category with the Celtics star. The company’s commitment to re-engage in hoops isn’t entirely a secret, as it recently partnered with the Celtics on the team’s new 70,000-square-foot Auerbach Center, the franchise’s new state-of-the-art training facility. In addition to New Balance’s expected interest, Chinese brand Anta could also emerge as a strong contender to sign Hayward. While Klay Thompson is the brand’s current headliner in China, where his “KT” signature line has been a huge hit for the brand that boasts more than 10,600 retail stores throughout Asia, the company’s familiarity with the Celtics could come into play for Hayward. Two of Anta’s initial signature athletes were Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo, both of whom signed just after their 2008 championship season in Boston, establishing a connection for Anta fans with the team ever since.
2 months ago via ESPN

Would a new company be able to get the historically reserved Leonard to jump in on the arena entry trend, with a series of made-for-social-media-styled outfits that have helped to raise the star power of players around the league? And even if it did, would fans find a sudden pitchman persona contrived and forced, given Leonard’s longtime disdain for promotional appearances and public attention? Like most dynamics currently surrounding the embattled All-NBA forward, there’s no sensing where exactly his head is at, though the coming months should provide some resolution for all involved.

As one of the new faces of Puma’s basketball brand, Bagley finds the parallels in elevating a shoe company and a franchise that have either been overlooked or ignored over the past decade. The lefty possesses a unique offensive repertoire and the confidence that he can handle what’s ahead. “It’s definitely something that I’ve been thinking about. It’s definitely a challenge, coming into something new, on and off the floor,” Bagley told Yahoo Sports. “I’m excited for it and I can’t wait to continue to grow and build.”

Nick DePaula on Kawhi Leonard’s talks with Jordan Brand: “Kawhi’s deal is going to be expiring this fall. Here’s where things stand with Kawhi. Over the course of this last season, there was an extension offer that was made, as Ramona Shelburne and Michael C. Wright of ESPN first reported. This is pretty common because brands would rather offer an extension than have guys enter the summer and hear pitches from rival companies. In Kawhi’s case, the extension that was offered was four years and a little over $20 million. It was an incredibly fair deal, in my estimation. Obviously, Kawhi was a Finals MVP and he’s a great two-way player, but there are realities in terms of the San Antonio market and his marketability, so [his production] may not translate in terms of sales. There’s so much more that goes into selling shoes than just being a great player.”

Nick DePaula: “Kawhi’s team didn’t feel like that’s where his market was and they were looking at something in the range of $10-million-plus [per year], which is what a lot of the top signature guys get, like LeBron James, James Harden, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and even Derrick Rose, famously. Kawhi’s camp was looking at that double-digit range, but Jordan Brand was pretty much standing firm at $5-million-plus [per year]. Again, I think that’s a great offer. In Kawhi’s case, the thing that’s tough is that he’s tweeted just _four times_, the last of which went up three summers ago. He’s never had an Instagram page. His personality isn’t on display much at all. He’s not known for his entry-arena fashion, as a lot of guys are known for nowadays.”

Nick DePaula: “There are a lot of off-court dynamics that he hasn’t really built, so it’ll be interesting to see how they figure this out. He’ll likely take pitches from [companies] heading into August and we’ll see what happens. You look at a guy like Nick Young; I think a lot of brands would rather sign a guy like Nick Young than Kawhi! Obviously, on the court, it sounds crazy. But if you had to pick head-to-head, based on Nick’s social-media presence [and personality], I think you’d go with Nick at this point.”

Nick DePaula on Devin Booker’s sneaker free agency next fall: “There’s not really a can’t-miss, signature-level guy this fall. But next year, Devin Booker is a guy that every brand is already circling. That Phoenix team is going to be really, really intriguing on the floor with that core they’re starting to build and I think they may be able to become a ‘team of the future,’ sort of like how people viewed the Timberwolves and Thunder before. Book is a guy who, I think, checks every box in terms of what brands are looking for: off-court style, an exciting style of play on-court, an explosive scorer, a young guy. I think he could be the guy that a lot of brands are targeting next.”

Nick DePaula on Puma: “Behind the scenes, this has been in the works for [about] a year to a year-and-a-half, just from the standpoint of identifying players from the college ranks as well as physically building a shoe that guys will believe in and want to play in. When you look back at 1998, which is when they last launched a basketball shoe, they’d done a 10-year deal with Vince Carter at that time and it was for $50 million, which was a huge offer. But the sides parted ways after only two years and VC was the only guy they had signed, so they were pretty much stuck after he left.”

Nick DePaula on Puma: “I think the biggest thing for [Puma] with this recent resurgence is rather than just sign one guy and hope it works, they really wanted to have a balanced roster. They offered over six first-round picks $1 million each, and they ended up signing a really good group of guys. Part of [their long-term plan] is signing established guys who have been in the league already. Rookies are usually signed right around the draft, while established players’ deals usually expire in October. They aren’t _just_ trying to sign rookies, and it’s not like who they have now is who they’re going to have at the start of the season. They’re going to be aggressive in terms of signing established guys this fall as well and [they want] to get another two, three or four guys to balance out their roster. They’d like to enter the season with around 10 guys to launch the Clyde Court, which is going to be their new model for the fall.”

Nick DePaula on Giannis Antetokounmpo having a very unique shoe: “If you look at Kevin Durant’s Nike shoe, it’s really clean and simple, which is exactly what KD wants because he wants his shoe to mimic his style of play. When you look at what Nike is going to do for Giannis and you factor in how his game is so unique and how we’ve never seen someone do the things he does at his size and you consider that ‘The Greek Freak’ is his nickname, it gives Nike some room to come out with a shoe that is really funky and unique and different and kind of out there. I think they’re going to take a lot of chances with his shoe. He has this sort of hybrid, never-before-seen style on the court and I think they’re looking at his shoe to have the same kind of design language. I think people are really excited for the shoe. Giannis gives them the ability to play and really try some stuff. I think they’re going to take some risks on it and it’s going to be exciting.”

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.

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?’”
4 months ago via ESPN

Sneaker companies targeting Trae Young

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.
4 months ago via ESPN

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.”
4 months ago via ESPN

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.”

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.
7 months ago via ESPN

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.

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).
8 months ago via SLAM

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.

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.)
9 months ago via ESPN

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.
More HoopsHype Rumors
September 22, 2018 | 3:29 am EDT Update
Irving said he’s aware that he’s been linked to Jimmy Butler in persistent free-agent rumors regarding a mutual desire to play together in New York, but he said he’s had no such discussions with Butler. In fact, he said, the last time he talked to Butler at length was when they were both playing with USA Basketball, and the two engaged in a spitballing session along with Durant and Cousins about what the future held for each of them. “And that,” Irving laughed, “was in 2016.”
19 mins ago via ESPN
Do you have any read on where DeMarcus is health-wise right now? I know he won’t be ready for the start of camp next week, but how much do you think he’ll be able to do, how much will be around the practice portions? Steve Kerr: Well, he’s been around the last few weeks. He rehabbed in Las Vegas over the summer, but he’s been here (in the Bay Area) the last few weeks, settling into his new home and new life. He’s on the court every day working. He’s so skilled. He’s got such great hands, shoots the ball so well, fantastic passer. He’s been working on all that stuff. So he’ll do as much as he can during camp and that will be decided by our training staff, headed by Rick Celebrini and Drew Yoder. We’ll confer with them every day.
Storyline: DeMarcus Cousins Injury