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Report: Expect a bidding war for Giannis Antetokounmpo’s next shoe deal

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Giannis Antetokounmpo is an All-NBA level, franchise cornerstone player who can be a one-man highlight factory — and he’s just 22. Once he develops a steady jump shot — and he will, it’s improving — he will be unguardable. Last season he won Most Improved Player, soon he will be in the running for MVP.

The Greek Freak’s rise led to a massive four-year contract extension from the Bucks that kicks in next season (near but not quite max), but more than that it’s made him a guy that could sell a lot of shoes with a signature line. And that likely will make him a lot more money than what the Bucks are paying him.

Antetokounmpo’s “rookie” contract with Nike is up after this season (he gets just $25,000 a year right now), and Adidas is looking to steal him away, reports Nick DePaula of ESPN.

Once September comes to a close, his current footwear and apparel endorsement deal with Nike is set to expire, making him the clear-cut headliner of the available NBA players looking for a new shoe deal heading into next season….

For (Alex) Saratsis and the Octagon sports agency that represents him, Antetokounmpo’s upcoming shoe deal is not only expected to place him among the top 10 NBA players in the league from an earnings standpoint, but will also have the potential to frame and amplify his overall marketing and personal brand going forward. So far, both Adidas and Under Armour have expressed strong interest, while Nike ultimately holds a “match clause” on any offer sheet Antetokounmpo signs.

“Giannis is a sure thing and unique,” says one industry source. “He does freakish s— that gets folks talking.”

Kristaps Porzingis signed a deal with Adidas last summer for $5 million annually, with the potential for a couple million more in bonuses — and big men traditionally don’t sell shoes. Guards and wings — like Antetokounmpo — move product. The fact that Antetokounmpo is an international star helps open up European and other markets as well for whoever has his shoe contract.

Which will be Nike — I am not sure what offer Adidas could make that Nike would not match. Not that Adidas and Under Armour will not try. DePaula estimates that Antetokounmpo will make $7 million to $10 million annually on his next shoe deal, I have to imagine that comes with a signature shoe line coming where he would get a slice of that pie. All of that could be well worth it for Nike, or whoever has his rights.

I look forward to getting a pair of the Greek Freak 1s when they hit the market.

This is why Shaq says he knows Kobe respects him (VIDEO)

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Do Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant hang out these days? Probably not.

But do the to respect each other? The answer, apparently, is yes.

During an interview for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network, O’Neal said he knows that Kobe respects him because of a certain play. That play?

Prepare yourself for this one Portland Trail Blazers fans: it’s the famous alley-oop with 41 seconds left from Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals that put the Lakers up by six points.

That play was the exclamation point on an impressive fourth quarter, one in which the Blazers went hilariously ice cold from the field while the Lakers made up a huge deficit.

Here’s how Shaq tells the story:

Game 7. We’re down. I’m telling Kobe ‘Hey man, I’m open’.

[And Kobe responded with] I got you.

He crosses up Scottie Pippen, and he catches eye contact with me like, ‘OK this is the one you wanted.’

He throws it up super, super, super high. I have to go up and get it and throw it down. Puts us up by five [it was six] and I know we’re going to win, we’re going to the Finals.

If you go back to the footage after we win [the game] who jumps in my arms? Kobe Bryant.

Meanwhile, a 12-year-old Dane Carbaugh’s heart still aches from that game.

Carmelo Anthony lands in OKC, gets greeted by fans at airport (VIDEO)

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Carmelo Anthony is now a member of the Oklahoma City thunder.

Man that is still really weird to type.

But this has been an insane offseason, and nevertheless the former New York Knicks forward is now a teammate of Russell Westbrook and Paul George.

We are not sure how these teammates are going to play together next season given their propensity for high-usage play, but we are definitely all ready to watch it very soon.

Meanwhile, Anthony was greeted by fans in Oklahoma at the airport after arriving to be with the team.

Via Twitter:

Do you think this will get Carmelo to stay in OKC?

Guess we will just have to find out.

Cavaliers are frontrunners, but where will Dwyane Wade land?

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Dwyane Wade and the Chicago Bulls reached a buyout agreement — he will take an $8 million haircut to become a free agent. Not that we should feel bad for Wade, I wish someone would pay me $15 million to go away.

The next question: Where will Wade play this season?

The smart money is on Cleveland, but it’s not that simple. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN got the ball rolling, but others chimed in.

OKC is an interesting option on the court, if their ownership group is willing to eat a little more tax to make it happen (the Thunder would pay about $24 million, based on their current payroll). Alex Kennedy of Hoopshype shed a little more light on that and other options.

It’s probably going to be the Cavaliers — his good friend LeBron James is there, they are the best team in the East so a trip to the Finals (and a shot at a ring) are very possible, and he could start for them. That’s probably enough to get the deal done.

Expect Wade to take a little time with this decision. Veterans are not big fans of training camps, he may be willing to miss a little, spend some time with the family, listen to pitches, then choose Cleveland where he wants to play this season.


AP source: Bulls agree to 2-year deal with Mirotic

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CHICAGO (AP) A person with knowledge of the situation says the Chicago Bulls and forward Nikola Mirotic have agreed to a two-year contract that could pay as much as $27 million.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity Sunday because the deal has not been announced. The Bulls hold an option on the second year.

The 6-foot-10 Mirotic averaged 10.6 points last season. He has scored 10.8 per game over three seasons.

The Bulls are rebuilding after winning 41 games and losing in the first round of the playoffs. They traded All-Star guard Jimmy Butler to Minnesota on draft night for three players 23 and younger – Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the rights to No. 7 overall pick Lauri Markkanen.

Yahoo Sports first reported the agreement.

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