PORTLAND -- Damian Lillard's banner year continued earlier this week, when the second-year Portland Trail Blazers point guard finalized a new shoe contract with Adidas that is believed to be among the most lucrative of any player in the NBA.
While the exact figures of the eight-year deal were not immediately known, a person with knowledge of the contract said it is smaller only than that of Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose (reportedly $185 million over 13 years with Adidas) and the Miami Heat's LeBron James (reportedly $20 million annually with Nike) among NBA players.
If certain incentives are met, the deal could extend to 10 years. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the financial terms are not typically disclosed.
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In a news release, Adidas head of global basketball sports marketing Chris Grancio called Lillard "one of the cornerstones of the adidas brand."
The structure of Lillard's previous deal was such that he could opt out and renegotiate at this early juncture of his fasttrack career. Adidas would have had stiff competition if they waited any longer, as their window to have exclusive negotiating rights with his agent, Aaron Goodwin of Goodwin Sports Management, recently ended and Nike as well as the Jordan Brand were known to be very interested in luring Lillard away.
Adidas has endured a trying stretch when it comes to its top NBA talents, with Rose suffering devastating injuries in consecutive campaigns and Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard's star fading during his time with the Los Angeles Lakers last season. Lillard, whose team plays so close to Nike headquarters, will now be featured as the next great perimeter talent with widespread appeal. And with good reason.
Lillard,the Oakland, Calif. native and Weber State product who was drafted sixth overall by the Blazers, has been tremendous from the start. He won Rookie of the Year last season, then became an All-Star for the first time and led Portland to an unexpectedly-strong season (currently 53-28, fifth in the Western Conference) in his second act.
He made the most of All-Star weekend in New Orleans when it came to bettering his personal brand, becoming the first player in league history to take part in five events. Before playing in the game itself, Lillard took part in the slam dunk competition, the three-point contest, the Rising Stars game and the skills challenge. Comcast SportsNet NorthWest first reported that Lillard and Adidas were close to a deal.