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NBA Monday: Talking The Shoe Game

Why Nike matched Kevin Durant’s epic shoe deal… Rockets trade for Jason Terry… Miami making changes to the bench.

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Nike Matched On Kevin Durant:  In the sports world there is the expression – “Go Big Or Go Home…” Under Armour, a fledging player in the basketball shoe space did exactly that in their offseason offer to Thunder star Kevin Durant.

When news broke that Under Armour was winning out on the bidding process with Durant, there were reports that the deal would clock in north of $325 million. As is usually the case in these kinds of things, shoe figures are often massively exaggerated and focus in on what’s possible if all incentives are met. What’s real is what’s guaranteed and possible to earn and that’s where the numbers came down to earth a little bit. In the end Under Armour’s offer was said to be worth $265 million, with achievable incentives and inducements that could have gotten the deal to $285 million over the next ten years.

Nike, who has had Durant since he entered the NBA had the right to match the offer, and over the weekend they informed Durant and his agent that they would matching the deal. It’s believed that Nike is offering a different structure to their deal, but that’s the dollar figures will come close enough to get Durant to agree to the terms.

For Under Armour, this was a dare to be great move. Landing Durant would have been a huge win for a brand whose biggest basketball star is Golden State’s Steph Curry.

In early August in this space we covered the impact Durant had on Nike as one of the fastest growing brand in their stable of huge money earners.

According to sports retail research firm SportsOneSource, in 2013, the Durant brand at Nike generated more than $175 million in sales, up from $35 million in 2012. That’s the biggest gain from any of the top brands, especially at Nike. Brand Jordan, the top money earner is said to have generated $2.25 billion for Nike, up slightly from the $2 billion Brand Jordan generated in 2012. LeBron James’ brand generated $300 million in 2013, roughly unchanged from the $300 million generated in 2012. Durant’s almost 500% increase in sales is remarkable given the Nike brand names he is in line with.

It is believed Nike cleared more than $60 million on the Durant brand last year, so kicking him the $25-$28 million that his new deal will pay him shouldn’t impact the bottom line too negatively, especially if his brand continues to grow.

While Under Armour’s offer was said to include equity in the company and several custom opportunities for Durant and his family, the security of Nike, their marketing and design savvy are arguably safer bets than Under Armour at this point. You can’t fault Under Armour for trying, though, they absolutely went big.

Rockets Land Jason Terry:  According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports the Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings have agreed to a deal that will send swing guard Jason Terry and two second round draft picks from the Kings to Houston in exchange for a the non-guaranteed contract of Alonzo Gee and potentially one more non-guaranteed player.

Gee was acquired by the Rockets on July 15 as part of the Omer Asik trade involving the New Orleans Pelicans and the Cleveland Cavaliers and is not eligible to be packaged in a trade until September 15.

The Rockets have been exploring options on a veteran guard and were also in the mix for Ramon Sessions. The Rockets tried to construct a similar non-guaranteed package of assets to send to Milwaukee in a sign and trade deal for Sessions, but found the Bucks to be a little unwilling to play ball.

In Terry, the Rockets land a versatile combo guard that can hit the three. Terry played in just 35 games last season for the Brooklyn Nets and posted a career low 4.5 points per game on the fewest field goal attempts of his career. Terry was traded near the trade deadline last season to the Kings as part of the Marcus Thornton trade. Terry did not play for the Kings.

The Kings currently have 16 players under contract, not including Omri Casspi who has yet to official sign his new Kings contract. The Kings are sitting on $75.85 million in contract commitments, which could swell to more than $78.094 million depending on how they manage their non-guaranteed commitments.

Shedding Terry’s $5.85 million salary gives the Kings breathing room under the Luxury Tax line as the players acquired from Houston are expected to be waived.

Changes In Miami:  LeBron James isn’t the only major change the HEAT will undergo this offseason, its seems the HEAT coaching staff is getting a bit of a shake up too.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports initially reported that the change was coming however Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel offered some quotes and some details.

According to Winderman, assistant coaches Ron Rothstein and Bob McAdoo, who have been with the organization for more than two decades, will be moving on to other roles within the organization. Head coach Erik Spoelstra will be seeking to replace them as the staff “evolves”, one of those evolutions is the promotion of Juwan Howard to a full-time assistant. Dan Craig, who was a former video assistant, took on a larger role last year working from behind the bench, he too is expected to take on a bigger role this season.

The HEAT are also believed to be in the market for a former head coach, and may add at least one new face to the team’s coaching staff before camp opens.

The HEAT will open training camp on September 27 as one of the teams with an international pre-season schedule. The HEAT will hold training camp in Miami and play two games in the United States before facing off against Cleveland in Brazil as part of the NBA Global Games in Rio.

Teams with International commitments on their preseason schedule open camp a few days earlier than those teams that do not play exhibition games abroad.

Have You Met Thon Maker?:  All summer long we have been bring you interviews and highlights from around the basketball world. In early August we caught up with High School Phenom Thon Maker at Adidas Nations. Keep an eye on this kid, as he could be the name to know in the 2017 NBA Draft.


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Steve Kyler is the Editor and Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA and basketball for the last 17 seasons.

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