With a new NBA season on the horizon, one of the league's budding superstars is negotiating his next big deal, but not one that relates directly to basketball.
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo's deal with Nike expires on Sept. 30, making the Greece-born All-Star a sneaker free agent this year. With his MVP potential and international appeal, just about every sneaker brand is making a pitch to acquire his services, including Nike, Adidas and China's Li-Ning. For with whom he signs with, Antetokounmpo will likely lead an existing performance model in Player Exclusive colorways next season, but ESPN's Nick DePaula reports that a signature sneaker line is in play for the 2018-19 season.
All three brands have made a signature line part of their pitch for Antetokounmpo, who will be presented initial 5-year contract offers this week. Adidas began its courting earlier this week, when a van full of sneakers was delivered to Antetokounmpo by teammate and Adidas athlete Thon Maker. Li-Ning, a dark horse in the process with a legit shot, may make an eight figure offer with an equity or stock component. Nike, by way of a contractual clause, has the right to match any offer made by a competitor within 20 business days following the signing of an offer sheet. According to DePaula, negotiations may carry into the preseason, which tips off next week.