You never know for sure if a player is going to turn out to be a superstar — Greg Oden was taken in front of Kevin Durant, Michael Jordan went No. 3, Kobe Bryant No. 13.
But sometimes you do know (LeBron James, Derrick Rose) and most scouts and teams believe Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins is going to be that kind of impact player in the NBA. He is the reason Philadelphia, Phoenix and other teams are already “riggin’ for Wiggins” and taking will be an issue the second half of the NBA season. (To be fair the draft class is deep with Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon and number of other potential franchise or at least future All-Star players.)
Players like Wiggins also sell shoes. A lot of shoes. And Adidas really wants Wiggins, reports Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report.
Three sources told Bleacher Report that Adidas has pegged Wiggins as their prime target—and they would be willing to open up the bank for him. Of course, no meetings or official offers can be made until Wiggins declares for the 2014 draft after his season at Kansas.
“From what I’m hearing, (Adidas) is really high on him,” an industry source said. “I’ve heard a range for sure, from like $140 to $180 million for like 10 years. That’s a big deal for a kid coming out of school because most rookie deals are probably like four years.”
“I’m hearing from people at Kansas that he’s got a $180 million offer supposedly coming from Adidas,” a source close to Wiggins’ inner circle said. “But I also heard that Nike is going to match anything.”
No pressure. “Hey kid, we’ve got $180 million waiting for you next spring. Have a good season and don’t blow out your knee.”
Does this all seem a little over the top for an unproven product? Yes, but it’s also a smart business move. If in 10 years we’re talking about Wiggins the way we talked about LeBron or Kobe nine years into their NBA career, that $180 million is a good deal for Adidas (or Nike, or whomever). He will sell shoes. There’s a risk involved, but the fact is there are a handful of basketball players on the planet who can really sell their model shoes and if you can get one of those guys, you grab them.
It’s going to be good to be Wiggins, but man this is a lot of hype to live up to.