Storyline: Sneaker Deals

312 rumors in this storyline

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.”

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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.
2 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).
2 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.)
3 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.

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Family. Loyalty. Legacy. Excited to announce my long-term partnership with @NikeBasketball #FamilyOverEverything #Antetokoumbros #OnAMission @thanasis_ante43 @kostas__ante13 @alex_ante29 @francisadetokunbo

6 months ago via ESPN

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.
6 months ago via ESPN

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.”

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.”
7 months ago via ESPN

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.
7 months ago via ESPN

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.
8 months ago via ESPN

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.”
8 months ago via ESPN

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.
8 months ago via ESPN

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.
8 months ago via ESPN

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.
8 months ago via SLAM

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.”
9 months ago via ESPN

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.
9 months ago via ESPN

“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.”
9 months ago via ESPN

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.
9 months ago via ESPN

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.
9 months ago via ESPN

In negotiations with the big brands — Nike, adidas and Under Armour — LaVar made it known that he was looking for $1 billion and wanted those brands to sublicense his Big Baller Brand. The shoe brands quickly passed. Days later, the first Big Baller Brand shoes launched on the company website. Industry sources indicate that a deal for Ball from the traditional companies originally fell in the $1.5 million a year range. Playing on the Lakers, plus the power of his holdout, could boost that up over $2 million a year.

Antetokounmpo getting a big shoe deal?

The “Greek Freak” kicks of a new four-year, $100 million deal with the Milwaukee Bucks next season. Antetokounmpo will also likely be armed with a new shoe deal. He is by far the hottest free agent this summer in the sneaker market and insiders think he could command a deal of at least $8 million annually and potentially over $10 million if everything breaks right. Credit his age, 22, and unique skill set, which has made him one of the NBA’s most alluring young stars.

The headline numbers on new shoe deals are often inflated and include bonuses and optimistic royalty payouts. The yearly guarantees are often much lower and can include reductions if sales tank. Below is a breakdown of Forbes’ estimates on what the NBA’s biggest stars—past, present and future—earned on their shoe deals over the past 12 months, including bonuses and royalties, based on conversations with industry insiders. Michael Jordan: $110 million, Nike (Jordan) Jordan hung up his high-tops for the third and final time in 2003, but he is still the king of the basketball shoe market. Sales of the Air Jordan XXXI have been soft, but the retro Jordan business remains strong. Nike’s Jordan revenues were $2.8 billion for the fiscal year ending May 2016, up 18% over the previous 12 months. Jordan’s net worth is $1.3 billion. Thanks Nike.

LeBron James: $32 million, Nike King James has talked about wanting to be a billionaire. Nike should help him get there someday. James entered the NBA in 2003 armed with the biggest shoe deal ever handed out to a rookie. The seven-year deal eventually paid out more than $100 million. Interestingly, James’ agent at the time, Aaron Goodwin, also negotiated the second-biggest rookie shoe deal ever with Kevin Durant’s 2007 pact.

Those stars waited until they were stars to cut out the middleman. But already LaVar’s called out: the shoe companies, the NCAA, AAU basketball teams run by shoe companies, retail stores taking a cut of shoe and merchandise sales — basically all the gatekeepers of the world he’s trying (to conquer. Is he trying to change the system or work it? That might not matter, as long as at least one of his sons lives up to the hype he’s created for them. “People don’t understand the movement,” he says. “This is a power play to show everybody, ‘Yo, we don’t need you to make this s — .'”

Former two-time NBA All-Star Stephon Marbury is still selling his Starbury shoes in stores in China and online in America starting at $14.98 after originally joining forces with the now-defunct Steve & Barry’s sporting goods store in 2006. If LaVar Ball, father of NBA prospect Lonzo Ball, hopes to get his Big Baller Brand going without the help of the major shoe companies, Marbury could offer some advice. “I would listen to what [LaVar Ball] had to say, definitely, if he called,” Marbury told The Undefeated from China. “It’s the delivery, that’s all. Sometimes people can’t accept the delivery. But I understand, because it’s his own feelings. I don’t agree with everything that he is saying, but I understand what he is saying.”

Ball has said that he would reach out to Chinese brands. What advice would you give to him? Marbury: Come rock with us. We know the structure that is needed. We don’t have the capital, but with my brand we have the resources for what is needed from the manufacturing side in China. He doesn’t have to do something with Starbury. We could work together where we can help put them into the position to speak to all the people who have that access to do what they want in China. I’m not saying I want him to come under my umbrella and be with Starbury, but I can position them by setting them up with the people that they need to speak to in order to create their infrastructure if they want to infuse capital into themselves.

One of the players expected to be drafted at the very top of the board is UCLA star freshman point guard Lonzo Ball. He is represented by Harrison Gaines as part of the newly formed Ball Sports Group. Gaines is a former employee at Impact Sports, where he worked alongside primary agents on contracts for NBA players Kawhi Leonard and Will Barton. Ball is also being represented in brand negotiations by Ball Sports Group’s founder – his outspoken father, LaVar – sources told The Vertical.

In his meetings with the three, LaVar insisted that the company license his upstart Big Baller Brand from him. He also showed the companies a shoe prototype that he hoped would be Lonzo’s first shoe. “We’ve said from the beginning, we aren’t looking for an endorsement deal,” LaVar told ESPN. “We’re looking for co-branding, a true partner. But they’re not ready for that because they’re not used to that model. But hey, the taxi industry wasn’t ready for Uber, either.”
More HoopsHype Rumors
April 24, 2018 | 9:59 am UTC Update
Only a half-dozen or so teams have max-level space this season, and most won’t pursue Cousins at that level, sources say. He doesn’t make sense for rebuilding teams. Even bad teams hungry for a big jump in wins next season — say, the Suns — can’t be confident Cousins will be ready to produce at his usual All-Star level until 2019-20, anyway. (Still: Never underestimate Robert Sarver’s July 1 exuberance in the name of short-term gain.) Some teams are afraid of his baggage.
19 mins ago via ESPN
April 24, 2018 | 8:57 am UTC Update