LaVine leaves Nike for Adidas.
Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine has signed a four-year sneaker deal with Adidas that could be worth as much as $35 million, according to ESPN's Nick DePaula. The 2x NBA dunk contest champion has repped for Nike in his first three seasons, but the brand recently waived a "match clause" in his contract, allowing him to sign on with Adidas.
The 22-year old high flyer has yet to play this season while he recovers from a torn ACL he suffered in February, but he hopes to return to the court better than ever with the possibility of becoming the new face of Adidas.
Per ESPN's Nick DePaula,
"I was looking for a partner that would grow with me as my career continues to unfold," LaVine said to ESPN. "Adidas convinced me that I have a chance to legitimately become a face of the brand."
"The direction the company is going in from a branding perspective has been impressive," LaVine said. "In recent years, they've been innovative and creative with both their marketing strategies and products. The way they positioned themselves and explained to me that I'd lead their next wave of players was huge."
Becoming the "face of the brand" likely means getting his own signature sneaker. Adidas currently has three guards on their roster with signature sneakers including James Harden, Damian Lillard and Derrick Rose, not to mention the marketable, budding big men, Kristaps Porzingis and Joel Embiid, who could also be in the running for signature shoes if their games continue to progress as expected.
According to DePaula, LaVine's contract with Adidas is loaded with incentives, including a bonus if he is able to achieve All-Star status once he's back on the court.
"It's a different contract than anything we've done recently," a brand source said.
Nima Namakian of BDA Sports, who negotiated the deal, explained that Adidas believes LaVine has the potential to be an "icon athlete" and a "foundational figure" of the brand.
"Adidas made a strong commitment, coupled with significant upside and flexibility," Namakian said. "Equally as important, their vision and belief in Zach becoming an icon athlete and foundational figure of the brand over time really resonated with him."
Last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, LaVine averaged a career-best 18.9 points per game. He was traded to the Bulls this off-season as part of the Jimmy Butler deal.
If LaVine's rehab continues the way it has, the Chicago Bulls expect him to make his debut with the team sometime later this month.