LaVine had worn Nike through the first three seasons of his career, and it had a match clause. When presented with Adidas’ offer, however, Nike waived its right to do so, according to DePaula.
“I was looking for a partner that would grow with me as my career continues to unfold,” LaVine told ESPN. “Adidas convinced me that I have a chance to legitimately become a face of the brand.”
Right now, Adidas has signature shoes with Derrick Rose, James Harden, and Damian Lillard. LaVine gives the company another high-profile player — he won two Slam Dunk Contests and averaged nearly 19 points last season with Minnesota. LaVine hasn’t played a game for Chicago yet, still recovering from an ACL injury suffered last spring.
LaVine’s Adidas contract includes incentives that will reward him if he reaches an All-Star level. That would help him reach that potential $35 million total that was reported.
Why Adidas would want to target LaVine
Adidas is blowing up right now — it just ‘jumped over Jumpman’ — in large part due to the explosion of its lifestyle shoes, such as NMDs and Kanye West’s Yeezy’s.
Right now, Adidas has guards — Lillard, Harden, Rose. It has Joel Embiid and Kristaps Porzingis, two big men who the company is hoping develop into stars who can sell shoes. (Typically, big men don’t really move the shoe market, but Adidas is anticipating that Porzingis and Embiid have flashy enough styles and personalities that it will overcome that.) It doesn’t have developed wings, however. Adidas-signed Kelly Oubre Jr., Jaylen Brown, and Brandon Ingram are all young, and another Adidas product, Andrew Wiggins, is facing a deal that’s about to expire.
LaVine is Adidas’ chance to get back in on the wing market, and in a premier NBA market, no less. Chicago, of course, is famed for Michael Jordan in the ‘90s. The Bulls have a certain mystique around them, and LaVine has a chance to emerge as a star for the team.
Adidas is also targeting Giannis Antetokounmpo, whose deal with Nike is expiring. But regardless, LaVine — known for his dunks and budding stardom — is a great get to its arsenal.