BasketballInsiders.com’s Alex Kennedy and CineSport’s Noah Coslov discuss Carmelo Anthony’s future and what his options are as he approaches free agency.
Lillard, adidas Agree to New Eight-Year Deal
Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard has had quite the year. He followed up his Rookie of the Year campaign with an All-Star appearance and playoff berth in his sophomore year. Now, his bank account is going to reflect his success.
While the Blazers won’t have to give Lillard a big payday until the summer of 2016, when he can become a restricted free agent, the star point guard was able to negotiate a new shoe deal will adidas that will make him substantially richer.
Lillard has been signed to adidas since last year, but he had an opt-out in his agreement that allowed him to ink a new lucrative deal if he reached certain incentives. By winning Rookie of the Year and becoming an All-Star, Lillard was able to opt out and was poised to become a free agent in the shoe game this summer. However, adidas stepped in and signed him to a new agreement before he could test the market.
Lillard’s new eight-year agreement is the third-largest in the NBA, behind only LeBron James’ Nike deal (reportedly $20 million annually) and Derrick Rose’s adidas deal (reportedly $14.3 million annually), according to USA TODAY Sports.
“adidas has been great to me over my first two seasons,” Lillard said. “I’ve had the opportunity to wear a lot of great product, help design special versions of shoes, be a part of TV commercials and travel the world with the brand. I’m excited for what the future holds for me and adidas.”
“Damian has proven to be not only an amazing basketball player, but a great partner, member of the community and someone who creates excitement for our products,” said Chris Grancio, adidas head of global basketball sports marketing. “His leadership and commitment to success on the court and his ability to interact and relate to fans through social media and the community make him the perfect fit to be one of the cornerstones of the adidas brand.”
This continues a whirlwind two years for Lillard. He wasn’t heavily in recruited out of high school in Oakland and he spent three years at Weber State before finally getting on the NBA radar and helping his stock significantly in the lead up to the 2012 NBA Draft. He admits that his rise from obscure college player in Ogden, UT to NBA superstar has been crazy.
“It’s surreal,” Lillard told Basketball Insiders. “When I see my school playing on TV, I’ll think, ‘Wow, I was out there.’ That whole time, I hoped that I was going to the NBA, but I had no idea that all of this would happen. My coach that I worked out with there would tell me, ‘Don’t just go to the NBA, go be an All-Star.’ And in my head, I’d be like, ‘Well, I want to be an All-Star, but I don’t know how possible that really is.’ The fact that I’m here and I was able to become an All-Star so soon, it’s a blessing. It was a huge honor. A lot of people don’t get that opportunity at any point in their career and I was blessed enough to get it in my second season. All of the credit goes to the team though. I was able to do all of this because of how successful the team was. I understand that.”
Teague, Ellis Named Player of the Week
The Atlanta Hawks’ Jeff Teague and the Dallas Mavericks’ Monta Ellis today were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, April 7, through Sunday, April 13.
Teague led the Hawks to a 3-1 week, which included wins over the Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat. He averaged 20.3 points (eighth in the conference), 5.8 assists (eighth in the conference) and 1.75 steals (tied-ninth in the conference). Teague tallied 25 points, four rebounds, four steals and three assists during a 98-85 win over the Miami Heat on April 12, and in the process, helped the Hawks clinch the eighth seed for the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Ellis helped the Mavericks to a 2-1 record, which included wins over the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns. He averaged 25.7 points (seventh in the conference), 4.7 assists and 4.0 rebounds. Ellis connected on 15-of-23 field goals en route to a game-high 37 points on April 12, as the Mavericks beat the Suns 101-98 and secured a playoff berth.
Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Brooklyn’s Mason Plumlee, Charlotte’s Al Jefferson, Chicago’s Joakim Noah, Denver’s Kenneth Faried, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Indiana’s Paul George, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge and Phoenix’s Eric Bledsoe.