DeMar DeRozan is a lucky man in the current world of professional sports where the timing of one’s free agency can provide generational money for those select lucky few. DeRozan falls into the group of the lucky few who will be experiencing his first free agency at the same time as the cap spike, but he falls into a very exclusive group where the timing of his free agency in the NBA coincides with his sneaker free agency as well.
If you’ve been following the Raptors, you know that the Raptors teams in the past few seasons have consisted of some relatively big sneakerheads in the NBA. The Red/White/Black uniforms simply make the sneaker selections too difficult for some of the players as there are so many to choose from and the Raptors are one of the few teams in the NBA where the players can comfortably wear most OG Air Jordan colourways. How many times do you get to go watch your city’s NBA team play and there are dudes out there playing professional basketball anything from Chicago 1s to Toro 5s?
The team always had some flashy dudes, like Rudy Gay and Amir Johnson who would wear plenty of retros throughout the season, but the one guy that always caught my eyes with his shoes was DeMar DeRozan. I hope that you’ve seen NiceKicks’ Sneak Peak inside his sneaker closet, but in case you haven’t, all that needs to be said is that the man has his fair share of shoes. What really caught my eye with DeMar was when he busted out 15 different pairs of Air Jordans to start off the 2012-2013 NBA season and really began displaying his versatility in his footwear. Although he has more recently switched over to majority of Kobe models throughout the season, it is awesome to catch him in on the rare occasions where he decides to wear his Blackout 5s, DB 3s, Black Cat 4s, and many more.
A few months ago in January, the internet was blessed to be provided an article that gave everyone an inside look at the details of the sneaker industry and the world of endorsements written by Nick DePaula of NiceKicks & the Vertical at Yahoo! Sports. He broke down the three major levels of sneaker endorsements into the signature series deal, the cash deal, and the merchandise deal. The merchandise deal are predominantly for players at the end of NBA teams’ benches, typically with the player receiving an allotment of sneakers and other merchandise over the course of a season. DeRozan’s upcoming deal will most likely fall into one of the first two options, a signature series deal or a significant cash deal.
There will be an abundance of sneaker companies going after DeRozan this offseason and it will be interesting to see what direction he goes in. It is safe to say that DeRozan will not be receiving a signature series from the likes of Nike, adidas, Under Armour, or Jordan Brand as they are already all filled with numerous signature series and with all due respect, the players with signature deals from the list of brands previously listed simply have a bigger presence on the market than DeRozan. With that in mind, the contract for recently signed signature athletes should be disregarded when speaking about DeRozan’s deal as he simply will not fetch the contracts of Kevin Durant or James Harden in the previous two offseasons, where Durant received a ten-year deal from Nike at approximately $300M and Harden received a ten-year deal from adidas at approximately $200M.
The sleeper picks for DeRozan’s services in the 2016-2017 season will be the Chinese shoe companies that have been slowly poaching players away from the bigger companies with different approaches in their deal offers. Companies such as Li-Ning, Anta and Peak are the ones to keep your eyes on as they have been selectively targeting media-friendly athletes with multi-platform crossover appeal. Anta has targeted two young wing players who have yet to fully make their names in the league at the time of their signing as they signed both Klay Thompson and Chandler Parsons to multi-year signature series deals. The success of the KT1 & CP1 lines cannot be encapsulated by sales numbers alone as these players may have set the precedent for players to sign with a less-proven & lesser-known international company.
Prior to the emergence of Anta and their signings of Thompson and Parsons, Li-Ning was the first Chinese footwear company to be able to persuade a major NBA superstar to take a chance with their company as they were able to get Dwyane Wade to leave Nike/Jordan Brand and his deal worth approximately $10M per year. Li-Ning was able to convince Wade to leave with not only the annual salary of the contract, but also the inclusion of a “‘significant’ equity stake in the company” which would give Wade a business venture well into his retirement.
It will be interesting to see the type of contract that DeRozan will receive but I believe that DeRozan will switch over to the up and coming adidas basketball, joining his fellow All-Star & back court mate Kyle Lowry.
P.S. Let us not forget the amazing Kobe IX Elite customs for DeRozan that was done by the local legend @doms.restorations.
Which sneaker company do you see DeMar DeRozan signing with this offseason?