Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant is a shoe free agent after his seven-year, $60 million deal with Nike expired. Nike has helped build Durant's brand a little bit with brilliant marketing campaigns and popular signature shoes, but his ability on the court is what drives the image of Durant. It's also what's driving the next endorsement deal for Durant to bring him a lot more money than his NBA contract is giving him.
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News is reporting Under Armour could pay Durant as much as $30 million a year if the Maryland native signs with them. Nike is looking to sign him to a new deal and Adidas is also looking to lure the shoe endorsement free agent. Regardless of which company he signs with, Durant is going to get a nice pay raise.
Kevin Durant won't hit the free agent market until July 2016 but the NBA's Most Valuable Player is on the verge of landing a blockbuster endorsement deal that could influence his future on the court as well.
According to a person familiar with negotiations, Durant, whose seven-year, $60 million deal with Nike is expiring, could earn as much as $30 million annually if he signs with Under Armour Inc., whose headquarters are in Durant's home state of Maryland.
Nike and Adidas are also in talks with Durant, whose combination of brilliance on the court and marketability in the aftermath of his emotional MVP speech has made him the darling of Madison Avenue.
Durant is slated to make just under $19 million with the Thunder this season and just over $20 million with them next season before becoming a free agent in 2016. Now tack on roughly an extra $30 million just from a shoe company each year and for the years following that. It will take quite some time with max raises on max deals before Durant is making that kind of coin from his NBA deal.
Some wonder if Durant possibly signing with Under Armour would also increase the odds of him signing with the Washington Wizards when he's a free agent in 2016. It would have him returning to his home area if he did. In today's sports world and digital media age, you really don't have to be near the companies you associate with to make it a lucrative deal, but it's good that our Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego approach to LeBron James' free agency can be extended to Durant as well.