If you’re wondering why Nike would do a lifetime deal with LeBron James — the first of its kind for the company — you just need to take a look at the shoes out on the market. Retro Air Jordan’s are re-released all the time. Nike re-released Penny Hardaway’s shoes. You can be sure that once Kobe Bryant walks away the Kobe retros will start rolling out. With LeBron already having 13 signature shoes — and there are more to come — selling an estimated $400 million this year, there is a lot of time for retro LeBrons to sell.
According to a person with knowledge of the situation, James’ lifetime shoe deal that was revealed on Monday is worth significantly more than the $500 million that has been speculated in some media reports and — at the current rate of sales — is also worth more than $30 million on an annual basis. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the financial terms.
That’s a lot of dough, but not out of line with the market. LeBron sells more shoes worldwide than any active player, and Kevin Durant just got a $300 million deal from Nike to keep him. Adidas just gave James Harden a $200 million deal.
For LeBron, it fits with his strategy of building a global brand. Of course, what really helps that brand is bringing a title to Cleveland.
Nets GM Billy King said Lionel Hollins not on hot seat
The Brooklyn Nets are bad. We knew they were going to be bad, they have no quality point guard play and holes throughout their roster. They don’t have great defenders.
Is this the coach’s fault? The answer to that question is often irrelevant, they get the blame.
Rumors have been swirling around the five boroughs (and beyond) that Nets coach Lionel Hollis is on the hot seat with the Nets at 6-15 and with a bottom five offense. Tuesday Nets’ GM Billy King said that is not the case, speaking with the YES Network before the Net’s tip-off (and win) against Houston. Here is what he said, via The Bergen Record.
King also pointedly denied a report from a Russian publication which said that the Nets had already decided to move on from Hollins, and were just holding onto him until they could find a replacement.
“It’s funny because I think the report said it was management,” King said. “And I’m management so there was no truth to that. Lionel and I are working hard every day. We’re discussing possibilities, things we can do on the court, off the court. I’ve talked to ownership and right now, Lionel is our coach and we’re working to try to turn this around.”
If the Nets decide to clean house, it likely will come this summer — and it could include King moving on, even though all he did was follow ownership’s orders on team building. As for the short term, what coach would want to walk into this Nets’ mess mid-season? How much could anyone turn this team around? If the Nets are going to get a new coach, in season or this summer, they need to ask themselves who they have got that’s better than Hollins? And what kind of team do they want to build?
King also said trades were possible.
“We’re going to explore options out there and look and see if there’s other players if we need to make a deal to bring guys in,” King said on the YES Network pregame show. “But we’re going to give this group a chance until we can find another option.”
There likely will be no trades in the NBA before Dec. 15, when players signed this summer can be moved. Outside of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (who is out a couple of months following surgery) everyone on the Brooklyn roster can be had. Guys such as Thaddeus Young will have teams at least making a call. The Nets are only going to be able to build via free agency and trades since they gave away all their picks. So expect rumors, but I’m not sure the Nets will get the value in return they are hoping to find.
Five Takeaways from NBA Tuesday: Warriors train keeps on rollin’
1) Another hurdle cleared, the Warriors’ machine keeps right on rolling. I feel like I’ve run out of new, positive things to say about Golden State — they faced another test on Tuesday night and handed a good Pacers team their heads. The game was all but over in the first quarter when the Warriors went on a 22-0 run. But while I’ve run out of words I haven’t grown weary of them — the Warriors remain a joy to watch play the game. They move the ball and move without the ball, they are smart and unselfish, and they defend. They play the game the way coaches around the globe try to teach it. Stephen Curry is the best player on the planet right now. We should savor all of that. Teams like this on runs like this do not come around often.
2) Klay Thompson was brilliant, then rolled his ankle and may miss time. Tuesday night was Klay Thompson’s turn to go off — he hit 10 three pointers, had 39 points overall, and was basically within range when he crossed the White River. It would have been his best night of the season, until he (and Curry and Draymond Green) had to re-enter the game in the fourth quarter because the bench couldn’t hold enough of the 28-point lead it was given. In the final minute of the game he went up and then came down on Shaun Livingston‘s ankle, rolling his own. Thompson had a noticeable limp after the game, but X-rays were negative, and he said he hoped to be ready to go against Boston on Friday.
4) Damian Lillard and LeBron James put on a show, but the Cavaliers came out on top. In the first half it looked like the Cavaliers, losers of three straight coming in, could be in trouble again. Lillard dropped 12 first-quarter points (he had 33 for the game) and Portland led by 18 at one point. But in the third quarter Kevin Love sparked an 18-5 Cavaliers run that made it a game. In the fourth Lillard had another dozen points but he couldn’t match LeBron’s 14 (33 for the game) and the Cavaliers got the 105-100 win. But Lillard and LeBron put on a show.
5) Houston blows chance to get to .500 with loss to Brooklyn Nets. This is the part of the schedule where the Rockets are supposed to get right, a couple of weeks of games against sub. 500 team. The Rockets had the chance to get level on Tuesday night but found the Brooklyn Nets the better team (again, the Nets sweep the season series). Brooklyn’s 105-100 win came on a night when James Harden was just 2-of-9 shooting for 10 points, plus he had seven turnovers. Houston turned the ball over one in five trips down the court as a team. Trevor Ariza suffered a bruised back after a first quarter fall and never returned. The Rockets’ super-small lineup in the fourth helped cut the lead down, but the Rockets could not get over the hump. The Rockets didn’t look like a .500 team on Tuesday, and so they are not.
Rajon Rondo with playground move abuses Trey Burke (VIDEO)
Sacramento’s Rajon Rondo was bringing the ball up in transition and Utah’s Trey Burke tried to make the right play, slowing him down mid-court rather than letting him run unfettered deep into the lane. But Rondo just abuses Burke with the fake behind-the-back pass, which becomes an easy pass to Rudy Gay for the finish.
It looked like another easy win for Golden State. It had been in total control against Indiana since a 22-0 run in the first quarter and led by 28 entering the fourth quarter. The starters went to the bench to watch 12 minutes of garbage time. Except it didn’t work out that way, the Pacers opened the quarter on a 12-2 run of their own and quickly were chopping away at the Warriors lead, which ultimately got down to single digits. Warriors coach Luke Walton had to send the starters back in to secure the victory.
Here is the danger with that: In the final minute of the game Klay Thompson — who had a team-high 39 points on the night — came down on Shaun Livingston‘s foot and rolled his ankle. He went to the ground in pain.
“I just came down, either on the floor or on somebody’s foot. I just rolled it. I’ll be alright. I’m just going to be sore for a couple of days, but I’ll be back in no time,” Thompson told reporters in Indiana.
Thompson said he plans to play this weekend, the Warriors face the Celtics Friday and the Bucks Saturday. We’ll see, the Warriors tend to err on the side of caution with these things, especially considering it’s still mid-December. The Warriors are going to prioritize the long term.
If he does miss time, it could mean Brandon Rush starting at the two and Andre Iguodala starting at the three, although coach Luke Walton (are we still calling him interim?) has other options at his disposal. This is a versatile team.