Kevin Durant was coming to the end of his endorsement deal with Nike, and had a huge offer on the table from Under Armour that reportedly would have paid him up to $30 million annually for up to 10 years.
But Durant was a restricted free agent of sorts, in that Nike had the right to match any offer the reigning MVP might have received from another company, and it appears as though they’ll exercise it in order to retain one of the game’s three biggest stars.
With Durant on the verge of a move to Under Armour, sources told ESPN on Sunday that Nike has exercised its right to match any rival shoe company’s offer to the Oklahoma City Thunder star.
Nike has countered Under Armour’s offer of between $265 million and $285 million and believes it will keep Kevin Durant for the next 10 years, sources told ESPN. Nike, whose seven-year deal that guaranteed Durant $60 million is expiring, made an initial offer of about $20 million a year that was far from what Durant was looking for. Under Armour’s huge play for Durant had many believing that Nike would even let him go at that price. …
While the exact Nike offer for Durant isn’t known, sources told ESPN that Durant should make more — in base and royalties — than the Thunder will pay him over the next two seasons ($41.2 million).
Some analysts believe Durant wasn’t a money-maker for Nike, and that Under Armour would have been taking a sizable loss in this deal, as well. For them, it was about getting into the basketball business in a big way, by marketing its brand globally around one of the game’s biggest stars.
Nike is well-equipped to monetize Durant, however, whose sneakers have become increasingly popular with younger folks, and continue to be released in a staggering number of colorways. There’s no shortage of cash where Nike is concerned, and the company has evidently decided that having a star of Durant’s stature in place for years to come was something they wanted, at any price.