Russell Westbrook, the NBA’s reigning Most Valuable Player, will look to continue to establish himself as one of the league’s top global superstars, inking a 10-year extension with Nike’s Jordan Brand that will be the most lucrative total endorsement deal for a Jordan athlete to date, according to industry sources.
After first signing on with the brand to an initial five-year endorsement deal in 2013, Westbrook has been positioned as the face of the brand and led the annual Air Jordan model each subsequent season. During that stretch, he also elevated his game on a year-by-year basis as the franchise point guard of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The new shoe deal extension, negotiated by the Wasserman agency and Westbrook’s longtime agent, Thad Foucher, is in advance of the initial deal’s expiration next fall. The increased pay rate will also retroactively apply towards his 2016-17 MVP season, according to sources. He wore Nike sneakers during his first four years in the NBA, before the company aligned him with Jordan, in order to have a dual-brand presence alongside Nike signature athlete and then-teammate Kevin Durant.
The long-term extension will link the 28-year-old Westbrook with Jordan Brand through as long as the 2025-2026 NBA season. The deal will also include both on- and off-court signature sneakers, new territory for Westbrook. As he’s continued to lead the Air Jordan game shoe each season, the brand launched two off-court geared silhouettes, dubbed the Westbrook 0.1 and 0.2, but had held off on designing a performance signature shoe for the hardwood
Source: Nick DePaula of ESPN
Sources: Hornets’ Cody Zeller Undergoes Surgery, to Miss 6 Weeks
Charlotte Hornets center Cody Zeller will undergo surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee on Tuesday, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He’s expected to miss six weeks.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN
Report: Executives Believe Rockets Have ‘real chance’ at Landing LeBron James Next Summer
While [LeBron] James has made it clear that he won’t deliberate his uncertain future until the Cavs’ season is complete, there is strong belief in [Houston] Rockets circles that they’ll have a legitimate shot at landing the four-time MVP this summer. Rival executives also believe the Rockets will have a real chance. And once you really look at it, when you get past all the noise about the Lakers and even the compelling case for the up-and-coming Philadelphia 76ers, it makes all sorts of sense.
Source: Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports
Report: Markelle Fultz No Longer Experiencing Shoulder Soreness
Philadelphia 76ers rookie guard Markelle Fultz is no longer experiencing shoulder soreness and will be evaluated in three weeks, the team said Saturday.
The Sixers said Fultz will ramp up his basketball activities in the interim.
Fultz, selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft, has played in just four games and was shut down on Oct. 29 due to soreness in his right shoulder and a scapular muscle imbalance.
The 19-year-old has resisted jump shots while relying almost exclusively on drives to the basket. He is shooting 33 percent (9-of-27) from the floor and 50 percent (6-of-12) from the free throw line. Off the bench, he has averaged 19 minutes.
Fultz’s shooting woes have been underscored by an altered shooting motion that has made some wonder whether the shooting tweak led to the shoulder injury or the shoulder injury forced him to change his shot.