Cade Cunningham Rumors
So while Cunningham may share traits with Magic and Bird, the view of him as a can’t-miss prospect is much easier to process because of current-day players like Jokic—and, in particular, Luka Doncic. In broad strokes, Cunningham and Doncic may well be geminis of a very specific playmaking archetype. It’s rare to see perimeter players leverage their size, strength, and stride to create space in the way that both players seem innately aware and capable of. “As prospects, I do think Cade has a pretty similar baseline in terms of the vision and the way he sees the court, the way he processes how everyone is moving,” Zaucha said.
One watches Cunningham expecting a beeline to the right decision; one watches Doncic expecting the seas to magically part, showing another way. But the stylistic difference may not have much effect on substance. “I wonder if there really is a gap in their creativity—the way they manipulate defenders, especially—or if it’s some sort of aesthetic bias at play,” Zaucha said. “Because Luka loves to make those creative decisions, and then sell it with a behind-the-back pass or some wild delivery that the defense doesn’t expect. Whereas I think Cade—from a decision-making perspective, I think Cade solves problems in creative ways, he just doesn’t always make them look creative.”
Rival front offices continue to wonder: Are the Detroit Pistons legitimately cooling on Cade Cunningham as the No. 1 overall selection … or simply trying to encourage stronger 11th-hour trade offers for the top pick? One league source insists that one of the factors keeping the Pistons from committing fully to the selection of Cunningham is Jalen Green’s recent stellar workout that apparently made the strongest of impressions.
It would be a surprise if the Pistons don’t keep this pick and draft Cunningham, but league sources say that Jalen Green had an outstanding workout with Detroit last week. The front office will mull trading down if teams keep making offers, but teams will have to pay a significant price to move up. Unless things quickly change in the next 48 hours, expect Cunningham to bring his versatile talents to the Motor City.
Ahead of the 2021 NBA draft, projected top overall pick Cade Cunningham has signed a multiyear footwear and apparel endorsement deal with Nike. After a COVID-19-impacted market found a majority of last season’s rookies playing out the 2020-21 season without a sneaker deal, brands are now returning to aggressively sign top players heading into this week’s draft. Nike had its eyes set on Cunningham, who starred at Nike-sponsored Oklahoma State University and has long had an affinity for the brand. “More than anything, they show that athletes are more than just athletes,” Cunningham told ESPN. “They really put the right message out for people to see. That was important to me. … I felt like it was a perfect match for me.”
Cunningham has also already agreed to endorsement deals in the plant-based food, energy drink, cryptocurrency, trading card, memorabilia and photo-sharing-app silos as well, which are expected to be announced in the weeks ahead. “I definitely have been putting thought into it. I’m not playing basketball just for fun anymore,” he said. “It’s a business now, and that’s the blessing of it. I’m happy that I’ve gotten to get to this point to where I can make money doing what I’m doing. Marketing myself, I want to be fully authentic with who I am. I don’t want to take any marketing deals that don’t match who I am.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Cade Cunningham — the expected No. 1 overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft — has agreed to an endorsement deal with Nike, sources tell ESPN. It’s believed to be the highest-earning shoe deal among players in his draft class.