While most basketball fans are enamored with the Conference Finals right now, tonight will also mark the first step on the path to the 2018 NBA Draft as the Lottery is set to take place at 7:30 p.m. While the order has yet to be set, it is all but guaranteed that Oklahoma star Trae Young will be a top 10 pick. In fact, his star potential is so promising that Puma has even expressed interest in making him the face of its future basketball revival.
According to a report by ESPN's Nick DePaula, Puma begun its pitch to the 19-year-old point guard when Young met with Roc Nation Sports in determining his representation. While he eventually choose Octagon Sports, he remains on Puma's wish list.
Puma has maintained its presence in the lifestyle category in recent times, but it has not been active in the basketball market in close to two decades. Its last signing was a young Vince Carter who in 1998 was then with the Toronto Raptors.
During his freshman campaign at Oklahoma, Young was the first player in NCAA history to lead the country in points (27.4) and assists (8.8). Young's talent has made him one of the most coveted players in this year's draft class for teams and brands alike.
"There's a magic to certain players. There's an 'it factor' that's hard to quantify, and I believe he has that," Octagon Sports agent, Omar Wilkes, told ESPN.
Along with Puma, Young will also hear pitches from Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour. He has had previous meetings with these brands and was able to wear test premier signature models like the Under Armour Curry 5, Nike Kyrie 4, and Harden Vol. 2.
Since Puma currently has no basketball models to show off, it plans to entice Young by presenting him with a prototype of its yet-to-be-released silhouette that will be debuting this fall. "The possibility to be the seminal piece to re-establish that category for Puma is what's enticing," said Wilkes.
Signing Young could certainly be a step in the right direction for Puma's resurgence into basketball. If it can get him to sign on the dotted line, the brand reportedly will also look to grow its NBA roster with veteran talent.