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
Bobby Portis Apologizes to Bulls for Mirotic Fight
Bobby Portis has apologized to his Bulls teammates for getting into a fight that left Nikola Mirotic with facial fractures and a concussion. “He didn’t address us today, but he did address the team before so that was taken care of,” Bulls swingman Justin Holiday said after Friday’s practice.
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg acknowledged that Portis’ apology took place during a team meeting but did not want to go into specific details about his message. “I’ll keep that between the team,” Hoiberg said, “as far as exactly what was said in that meeting.”
Source: Nick Friedell of ESPN
Joel Embiid Still Not Cleared for Back-to-Back Games
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid said he has not been cleared to play back-to-back games and does not expect to be in the lineup Saturday at Toronto.
Embiid was in the starting lineup for the home opener Friday night against the Boston Celtics, scoring 11 points to go along with 14 rebounds in 28 minutes as Philadelphia lost 102-92. Asked after Friday’s game if he was OK with not playing Saturday night, Embiid replied, “Um I’m not OK with it but we have a plan in place and we have to follow it.”
Dennis Smith Jr. Out for Next Two Games With Knee Injury
Dennis Smith Jr. will miss at least two games due to swelling in the left knee that the Dallas Mavericks’ prized rookie point guard had surgically repaired two years ago.
Smith was a late scratch before Friday’s loss to the Sacramento Kings and will not travel with the Mavericks for Saturday’s road game against the Houston Rockets.
Source: Tim MacMahon of ESPN