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: Jimmy Butler Trade Talks ‘mostly dormant’
For now, Minnesota’s talks with teams around the NBA are mostly dormant, league sources told The Athletic. The Miami Heat have long been the most aggressive team pursuing Butler, having advantages with a young, promising wing in Josh Richardson, being a team not in Minnesota’s conference and holding other assets to add in a package. Yet days before their own season opener Wednesday, Miami president Pat Riley informed his locker room that the team would stick with the current roster to start the season in a show of loyalty the organization has for their current players, league sources said.
Source: Shams Charania of The Athletic
Sources: HEAT, Pat Riley ‘pulling the plug’ on Jimmy Butler Trade
In another rare confirmation of Miami Heat trade negotiations, a team spokesman confirmed shortly before Thursday night’s game that Heat President Pat Riley recently told the team’s players he was “pulling the plug” on trade negotiations regarding disgruntled Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler.
Amid growing speculation of specific Heat players being offered for Butler, Riley, during a recent practice session, lined up the team’s players on the practice court at AmericanAirlines Arena and told them he was standing by them.
Riley, however, did not state that a trade was categorically off the table.
Report: G League to Offer $125K Salaries to Elite Prospects
The NBA G League today announced a Select Contract as part of a comprehensive professional path that will be available, beginning with the 2019-20 season, to elite prospects who are eligible to play in the NBA G League but not yet eligible for the NBA. The contracts, which will include robust programmatic opportunities for development, are for elite players who are at least 18 years old and will pay $125,000 for the five-month season.
“Select Contracts are an answer to the basketball community’s call for additional development options for elite players before they are eligible for the NBA,” said NBA G League President Malcolm Turner. “The supporting infrastructure surrounding these newly-created Select Contracts is designed to provide a rich offering of basketball and life skills developmental tools for top young players to grow along their professional paths from high school to the pros.”