Sneaker brands view Young as the most marketable in this year's draft.
Oklahoma Sooners guard Trae Young will be among the top selections in the June 21st NBA Draft and according to ESPN's Nick DePaula, he is considered to be the most marketable player in this year's class.
In fact, Puma is targeting Young as the player to re-launch their basketball category for the first time since Vince Carter left the brand for Nike in 1999. Carter forced his way out of his 10-year contract with Puma in '99, before his second NBA season ended and the brand hasn't signed an NBA player since.
"This is their first real foray back into basketball since 1998 with Vince Carter," Omar Wilkes, one of Young's Octagon agents, told DePaula. "The possibility to be the seminal piece to re-establish that category for Puma is what's enticing."
"There's a magic to certain players. There's an 'it factor' that's hard to quantify, and I believe he has that," said Wilkes. "He's able to have that with his combination of passing, shooting, ballhandling and charisma. There's an effortless ease about him when he's on the court."
DePaula says that Puma will present Young with a prototype of its upcoming basketball sneaker sometime this week, prior to making an official pitch to the 6'2 guard. The brand will attempt to draw him in by revealing future product concepts, marketing plans and how they plan to re-engage in the basketball space.
"The brand [Puma] enjoyed a 15 percent rise in sales for the 2017 fiscal year, and more than doubled its net earnings from 2016. The potential to be featured in global brand campaigns and store displays while headlining a new sneaker before even playing an NBA game is an intriguing option for Young," writes Nick DePaula.
That said, Puma isn't the only brand that has the electric sharp shooter in their sights. The major players like Nike and Adidas will reportedly make competitive offers for Young, as will Under Armour, who sponsors Young's idol, Stephen Curry.