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
Celtics’ Irving to Undergo Procedure on Left Knee
Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving will undergo a procedure on his left knee on Saturday, according to the team. The procedure is described as minimally invasive, to relieve irritation. Further information will be provided following the procedure.
Source: Boston Celtics
Sources: Spurs Hold Players-Only Meeting to Discuss Kawhi Leonard’s Status
The San Antonio Spurs held a players-only meeting to implore All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard to return to the lineup and help the team in its push for the playoffs, league sources told ESPN.
Spurs guard Tony Parker, a four-time NBA champion, quarterbacked the meeting after the team’s victory over Minnesota on Saturday night. Non-players were asked to leave the locker room, a source told Michael C. Wright.
The conversation was described as tense and emotional at times. Several teammates spoke up, expressing frustration and confusion over a growing divide that has created significant tension between Leonard and the Spurs. Outside the Spurs locker room, players’ voices could be heard through the door, sources said.
Leonard remained resolute in his response, insisting that he has good reason to continue sitting out because he still isn’t fully healthy, sources said. Leonard told his teammates that he planned to return once he felt able to do so, sources said.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN
Report: Suns Begin Search for Head Coach, to Consider Jay Triano
The Phoenix Suns are beginning their search for a new head coach now, a process that will include interim coach Jay Triano, general manager Ryan McDonough told ESPN.
In a coaching market that could be expansive with openings this spring, the Suns want to get a start on connecting with available candidates now and leap into the rest of the coaching market in mid-April when the regular season ends, McDonough said.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN