During an appearance on Uninterrupted’s Road Trippin Podcast, James revealed that he wanted to sign Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Dončić to the would-be LeBron Brand, apparently running the idea by Nike during Dončić’s sneaker free agency last season. “I don’t even know if Luka knows this, but he will know it now,” said James. “I wanted Luka to be the first signee of Team LeBron when he was going through his situation.”
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It doesn’t appear that James’ idea for a Dončić-led LeBron Brand moved past exploratory discussions—he’s not sure if Dončić is even aware that it was a possibility. “I don’t believe that my guys at Nike was ready for that,” he said. “And obviously they were not, because he ended up going to Jordan.”
Nick DePaula: Sources: Warriors wing Andrew Wiggins is working towards finalizing a multi-year shoe deal with Chinese brand Peak. Peak has had shoe deals with Lou Williams, Dwight Howard & Tony Parker in recent seasons.
TJ McBride: Some sneaker news: Monte Morris is a sneaker free agent. He wore a bunch of different Kyries as well as Giannis’s Freak 1s over the past couple years, but is looking for a new deal. He sent out an IG story today of him wearing what he called an And1xBigGame collab FWIW.
Nick DePaula: Sources: Point guard Fred VanVleet is on the verge of signing a multi-year shoe deal with Li-Ning. He is expected to be among the most coveted NBA free agents next week.
Nick DePaula: OFFICIAL: Potential #1 pick LaMelo Ball has signed a multi-year shoe deal with PUMA. pic.twitter.com/VKWAvbtGcQ
Nick DePaula: LaMelo on signing with PUMA: “I personally chose a different path to achieve my success because that defines who I am. I know some people think I am mysterious or ‘not from here,’ and I might have to agree. I am someone who likes to be different & consider myself to be 1 of 1.” pic.twitter.com/CSEBcdmSWg
Joel Embiid is officially a signature athlete, making him the 17th NBA player to have his own shoe. He debuted the UA Embiid One in the 76ers game against the Magic on Friday night. Before the game, he showed them off on Instagram. They look solid. The design is extremely safe and extremely big.
I’ve been told by a “sneakerhead” source in China that Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry will soon have his own brand under the umbrella of Under Armour, just like how Michael Jordan has his Jordan Brand at Nike. His new “Curry8 Flow” is supposed to drop sometime in the Fall. I have heard both August and September as possible release time frames, so I don’t have strong intel on that.
Stephen Curry: Trust the process! Welcome to the signature shoe family, @JoelEmbiid ! #embiid1 @UAbasketball
On May 18, the Oregon federal court emphasized its prior decision that upheld the validity and enforceability of the Nike contract that Leonard previously signed. It highlighted the portion of the contract where Leonard acknowledged that Nike exclusively owns all right, title and interest in intellectual property created by Nike or Leonard in connection with the contract. Leonard] acknowledges that NIKE exclusively owns all rights, title and interest in and to the NIKE Marks and that NIKE shall exclusively own all rights, title and interest in and to any logos, trademarks, service marks, characters, personas, copyrights, shoe or other product designs, patents, trade secrets or other forms of intellectual property created by NIKE . . . or [Leonard] in connection with this Contract[
Ultimately, it appears that Leonard’s case against Nike will end up backfiring against the NBA superstar. He filed his action in the wrong jurisdiction, attempting to play offense, and now finds himself in a very weak defensive position, with Nike already prevailing in certain respects. Unless Leonard is able to provide the court with some strong evidence to the contrary, it seems that Leonard may also end up being on the hook for damages related to copyright infringement and multiple breaches of contract.
UNINTERRUPTED: “MJ stepped up and said … I’ll take Melo, y’all got LeBron.” Hear the story of how MJ chose @carmeloanthony to be the first @Jumpman23 signature athlete on a new #WRTS After Party.
Meanwhile, O.J. Simpson, who was a spokesman for Spot-Bilt, a casual shoe brand, vouched for Jordan and insisted the brand match Nike’s offer to lure him into signing with the company. “The Last Dance” executive director Jason Hehir told the story to “Jalen & Jacoby,” explaining how Michael Jordan nearly signed with an otherwise long-forgotten company: “Spot-Bilt, you remember them?” asked Hehir in a recent interview. “They matched [Nike’s] offer. Michael Jordan came this close to being with Spot-Bilt because the spokesman at the time was another athlete who had broken, transcended some racial bounds, it’s a guy by the name of O.J. Simpson. “He said to the guys at Spot-Bilt: ‘The kid out of Carolina is the next me. Go get him.’ So they matched Nike’s offer, but they couldn’t match the marketing. They couldn’t promise [agent] David Falk that they could market Michael the way that Nike would. And that ultimately is what put that deal over the top, financially, for them.”
After Converse told Jordan that it had too many big-name players — including Magic Johnson and Larry Bird — to make Jordan a front man for the company, the choice came down to Adidas or Nike. Adidas wasn’t willing to give Jordan his own shoe, but Nike was. There was just one problem: Jordan didn’t want to meet with the shoe company to discuss it. “I couldn’t even get him to get on the damn plane and go visit the campus,” Jordan’s agent, David Falk, said.
Jordan became a pitchman unlike any other before him, and to some degree, it turns out that was the plan all along. Agent David Falk explains in Episode 5 how he wanted to treat Jordan like a boxer or tennis player – an individual star – instead of how stars in team sports were typically marketed. But Nike, the company that landed Jordan, never would’ve gotten a meeting if it weren’t for MJ’s mom, who convinced him to take the meeting. “I go into that meeting not wanting to be there,” Jordan says in Episode 5. “Nike made this big pitch. And Falk was like, ‘You gotta be a fool if you’re not taking this deal. This is the best deal.’”
It’s wild to consider that Michael’s parents each changed the course of sneaker history. Not once, but twice. “I was Adidas,” Jordan reveals. Deloris Jordan, who convinced her son to take the Swoosh meeting, remembers Michael saying: “I am not going to Nike, momma.”
Nick DePaula: Jalen Green will sign with agent Aaron Goodwin of @GoodwinSports. The projected 2021 #1 pick will begin the shoe deal process *now*, with several offers expected to top 7-figures per year. Goodwin negotiated massive rookie shoe deals for LeBron, Dwight Howard & Kevin Durant.
Sabrina Ionescu always has considered Steph Curry to be her “big brother.” So, is there about to be a rift in the family? In the days leading up to the 2020 WNBA Draft, Ionescu finds herself in a new reality. Expected to be the No. 1 overall pick by the New York Liberty, she potentially could sign a lucrative sneaker deal, with Under Armour, Nike and Puma all in the mix. As she mulls a decision, the influence of Curry, her NBA superstar mentor and the face of Under Armour, is obvious. “I think he texts me almost every day,” Ionescu revealed this week on NBC Sports Bay Area’s Runnin’ Plays Podcast. “He’s working hard.”
But as she decides on a deal, Ionescu says she hopes a signature sneaker is in the works. “I think before this all happened, I never thought about it because I didn’t think it was even a possibility because women don’t usually have signature shoes,” Ionescu said. “And then I think listening to a lot of these companies and the goals and visions that they had to have a signature shoe down the line, I was like, ‘Oh, actually that would be pretty cool.’
Ice Trae shoe on the way? ❄️ @TheTraeYoung
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.”
“With a rookie, you just don’t know how they’re going to turn out,” said AND1’s head of sports marketing Dexter Gordon. “That’s why a lot of times, when an agent has a lottery pick, they try to hurry up and lock in a sneaker deal. I have to decide whether to put my money on a rookie with a lot of upside when I don’t know what’s going to happen or go with a veteran who has proven himself and is a bit safer because I’ve seen them play in the league.”
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.”
Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green has signed a multi-year, multi-million dollar shoe deal with Converse, making him a face of the company and a featured endorser across all brand marketing and product launches. The deal allows Green to continue within the Nike Inc. umbrella of companies, as Nike purchased Converse in 2003 and has been operating the century-old company out of Boston since.
Their conversations began throughout the fall, “picked up” at the start of the calendar year, before “talks solidified” over a lengthy Boston dinner between Adrian Stelly, Green and Jesse Stollak, when the Warriors were in town to play the Celtics in late January. It was the brashness with which Green is known for, and his winning resume, that ultimately appealed to the brand.
Green is expected to have his own “signature expressions of that, in a player edition form,” according to Stollak, with potential releases expected later this calendar year.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green is signing a shoe deal with Converse, sources tell ESPN. He will become the brand’s highest profile athlete since Dwyane Wade. Green had been with Nike.
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.
Jones Jr. signing with Puma should also help with his reputation — not to mention his footwear choices on a daily basis. “It helps me with shoes because I really don’t have to buy any shoes anymore,” Jones Jr. said. “I don’t have to worry about what I’m going to wear. I had a lot of Pumas already, but now I just can grab anything that has Puma on it.”
But has the increased attention stemming from Saturday night’s memorable victory over Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic changed Jones Jr.? “Man, he walked in and didn’t say nothing to me this morning,” Jimmy Butler joked. “Nah, he’s the same dude. He’s always going to be like that. And I know him: If he goes to the dunk contest next year, he’ll win it again.”
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]
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.
Jones wore a white and pink Puma Clyde Hardwood sneaker to sync with the Heat’s colorful “Vice Nights” jerseys in the contest, while showcasing a variety of between-the-legs and windmill dunks. The brand offered him the endorsement deal shortly after he carried home the trophy on All-Star Saturday Night, which coincided with his 23rd birthday. “This is a day that I’m going to tell my kids [about],” he said.
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.”
“I fell in love with it,” VanVleet said. “I was trying a bunch of other shoes, and it stacked up pretty good to almost everything that I was wearing at the time, so it kind of made my decision a little bit easier.” It helped, too, that AND1 was aggressive in recruiting him. To AND1, VanVleet was everything the brand had once been and could become again: An underdog who wasn’t supposed to make it but did, never once losing its roots.
“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.”
Chris Haynes: Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie drops his Mark II signature shoe on Feb. 8 and in honor of Kobe Bryant and Gigi, 100 percent of net proceeds during first nine days of sales will be donated to the MambaOnThree Fund. Purchase at projectdream.io/shop pic.twitter.com/8jTnwzotNJ
Nick DePaula: Sources: Aaron Gordon is nearing a multi-year agreement to become the face of Chinese sportswear brand 361 Degrees. The multi-Million dollar shoe deal would include a future signature shoe. 361 currently boasts more than 7,000 stores throughout China.
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.
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.
According to ESPN NBL analyst Corey “Homicide” Williams, Ball has received a $100 million offer from a sneaker company that includes a private jet: “I just got off the phone with a source close to me in America that just told me a sneaker company has offered LaMelo Ball a private jet and $100 million. They want to endorse this kid.”
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.
A person familiar with Doncic’s agreement with Nike, who asked to remain anonymous because the details are private, said it’s a five-year, seven-figure deal to endorse the company’s Air Jordan line. There were reports the two were close to a deal last week but it was not officially announced until Thursday.
“Growing up in Slovenia, and all over Europe, everyone knows about Air Jordans because of the impact Michael Jordan has had all over the world,” Doncic said in the blog post. “It’s a brand with an amazing history. The more I learned about their plans and how much they believe in me, it became an easy decision.”
“We are excited to welcome [Doncic] to the Jordan Brand family,” Michael Jordan said in the release. “He rounds out a roster of incredible new talent united to represent Jordan Brand for the next generation.”
But after weeks of speculation about what company he would sign with, he is “closing in on a lucrative multi-year endorsement deal” with Jordan Brand, according to The Athletic’s Tim Cato and Shams Charania. The company announced the deal on Dec. 26.
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.
Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic is on the verge of signing a shoe deal with Jordan Brand, sources confirmed to ESPN on Saturday. “It’s all but official,” a source said.
Doncic’s contract with Jordan is expected to be a five-year deal, sources said. It will not begin as a signature deal, according to sources, but Doncic can earn a signature deal through bonus clauses such as winning MVP or Finals MVP. Sources said that Doncic will likely have player-exclusive models — special edition colorways on which he has design input — available to him by February.
Puma and Under Armour had major interest in Doncic, sources said. He wore Stephen Curry’s signature Under Armours twice in games and practiced and warmed up in Pumas, but Doncic has primarily played in Nike or Jordans. Sources said Under Armour never made an official offer, and Puma shied away from being aggressive with their offer due to Nike’s match clause.
Shams Charania: Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic is closing in on a lucrative multi-year endorsement deal with Jordan Brand, sources tell me and @Tim Cato.
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.
RJ Marquez: #Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray made it official today…he’s signed an endorsement deal with @newbalancehoops…DJ has been wearing @newbalance apparel throughout season. #GoSpursGo #NBA pic.twitter.com/Air3WCmkUn
B/R Kicks: Breaking: D’Angelo Russell signs with Dwyane Wade’s Way of Wade to become the on-court face of the brand. Full interview between @DwyaneWade and @Dloading drops Monday.
Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker, the NBA’s Sneaker King, is close to signing his next endorsement deal since his contract with Nike expired Oct. 1, he told CNBC in an interview. Tucker, 34, has been with Nike throughout his career and has been in negotiations with the company since his deal ended last month.
Tucker also received interest from Puma, Adidas and New Balance, his agent Andre Buck of Arete Sports Agency confirmed in an interview. The 34-year-old player is expected to command a multiyear, six-figure sneaker deal that would be the largest endorsement deal of his career.
Once Tucker agrees to a new deal, the next step is finalizing insurance coverage for his sneaker collection. Tucker is using insurance advisory firm NFP to seek a specialty provider to protect the valuables. Tucker relocated sneakers from three storage facilities across the country to prepare for the completion of his multilevel “sneaker only loft” in Houston.
Nick DePaula: Raptors guard @FredVanVleet has signed a shoe deal with AND1 to become the current face of the brand. He’s been playing in the new Attack 2.0 model while averaging 17 points & 7.6 assists per game.
Nick DePaula: New York Knicks guard Allonzo Trier has signed a multi-year shoe deal with Nike, negotiated by @ExcelSM. @Iso_Zo can often be seen rotating between coveted vintage Kobe models. pic.twitter.com/V33bsiZKsG
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.
All-Star point guard John Wall and Adidas are engaged in ongoing buyout negotiations that will soon bring his five-year footwear and apparel endorsement deal to an end less than two years into the agreement, industry sources told ESPN.
Since signing the deal in January 2018, Wall has been sidelined by a series of injuries, limiting his on-court visibility while wearing the brand’s products. Just three weeks after landing the contract, Wall missed 27 games because of a left-knee injury. The injury cost him what would have been his fifth All-Star Game appearance the following month, when he was expected to help headline the brand’s Crazy BYW X sneaker in Los Angeles.
Nick DePaula: Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart has signed a multi-year shoe deal with @PumaHoops. pic.twitter.com/ECICjxYnld
Marcus Smart: We eat GRIT for breakfast in this house! It’s official – #PUMAFAM! @PUMAHoops
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.'”
While some players simply opt for the highest offer, Tucker is looking for a brand that will allow him to flex his creative muscles on and off the court. He’s had an up-close look for the past two years at what Adidas has done with teammate and brand headliner James Harden, who has lobbied the Three Stripes behind the scenes to sign his close friend.
Shams Charania: Spurs guard Dejounte Murray has signed a multi-million dollar shoe endorsement deal with New Balance, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium. His Spurs deal also can reach $70M with incentives ($64M guaranteed).
Nick DePaula: LA Clippers sharpshooter @Landry Shamet has re-signed with Nike on a new multi-year footwear & apparel endorsement deal.
Domantas Sabonis: I’m very excited to remain a part of the Nike Family!
I’m told Thompson’s deal is not in jeopardy. Thompson is the face of the brand. In 2016, he re-upped with the Chinese shoe company for a 10-year deal worth up to $80 million. His shoe sales have grown exponentially since he first signed with Anta in 2014. Thompson and his shoe company are expecting big things out of their relationship.
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.”
Anta reps were at the practice and saw Looney wearing the sneakers. They liked the way he looked in their shoes, which helped the negotiations. On Oct. 4, Looney announced a two-year deal with Anta. He is the third Warrior to endorse the brand. Jacob Evans signed up last year. Anta also has Lakers guard Rajon Rondo and Boston forward Gordon Hayward as endorsers.
That group includes Curry’s teammate Klay Thompson, who earns an estimated $9 million per season from the Chinese brand Anta. Several players command between $2 million and $10 million annually from Chinese companies such as Anta, Li-Ning and Peak, according to two people familiar with shoe contract negotiations who were not authorized to discuss them publicly.
Ryan Wolstat: P.J. Tucker is well known as one of the NBA’s premier sneakerheads, but is between deals now. He doesn’t know who he is going with: “I’m just having fun right now,” Tucker said. “No rush … Just wearing whatever I want. Finally, for the first time in my life.”
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.”
Nick DePaula: Warriors center Kevon Looney has signed a multi-year shoe deal with Chinese brand Anta. He & teammate Jacob Evans will wear Klay Thompson’s KT5 signature shoe and other Anta team shoes this season. Klay has pushed for the brand to sign teammates when available. ??: @Loon_Rebel5
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December 3, 2020 | 8:35 pm EST Update
Marc Stein: Rockets star James Harden was not yet in Houston for the team’s individual workouts Thursday, league sources say … New Rockets coach Stephen Silas said this afternoon of Harden that he’s “confident that he’ll be here when we get started” Houston’s first practice is Sunday
Anthony Davis: “I just wanted to take the process one day at a time. Obviously winning the championship with L.A. was very great. The team Rob (Pelinka) put together, and Jeanie (Buss) put together, and Linda (Rambis) and all the people in the front office was amazing, and we did something special. Especially with everything going on in 2020. I don’t think there was a doubt that I was gonna come back, it was just trying to figure out the logistics and what was best for me and my family, and I was able to get a deal done today.”
Anthony Davis: “L.A. is the place I wanted to be. They do a great job… of just putting the team together. It’s the place I wanted to be, where I love to be. I’m out here during the summers and now living out here full-time for the next five years. So I thought it was just a great thing to go five years and be here in the place that I love, and (I) don’t plan on going anywhere. So why not maximize it the most at this opportunity?”
The Brisbane Bullets have completed their roster for the 2020-21 NBL season, signing former Orlando Magic two-way player Vic Law, the team announced on Friday. Law, 24, will be the Bullets’ second and final import for the new season, filling the open roster spot left by Will Magnay, who signed a two-way contract with the New Orleans Pelicans.