Report: Ben Simmons could get $100 million shoe deal as rookie

Associated Press
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It’s simply supply and demand — there are not a lot of guys that move shoes. Guys that can sell shoes get paid.

Ben Simmons, the LSU forward who is the presumptive No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft this June, might be one of those guys. He’s a 6’10” forward with point guard ball skills and vision. (That said, not every scout is sold he will become a franchise cornerstone guy, Rob Dauster of CollegeBasketballTalk and I discussed that in the latest PBT Podcast.)

With Nike trying to hold off Under Armour — who has Stephen Curry under contract — there could be a bidding war that will make Simmons a rich man before he ever sets foot on the court, according to a report from the well-connected Adam Zagoria at www.sny.tv.

Ben Simmons could sign a sneaker deal worth in excess of $100 million as he transitions from LSU to the NBA, an industry source told SNY.tv.

Nike remains the favorite to sign the 6-foot-10 Australian point forward, who is projected as the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, but Under Armour and adidas could get involved to drive up the bidding.

“The number doesn’t astonish me, the number’s been stagnant since LeBron,” grassroots sneaker guru Sonny Vaccaro told SNY.tv on Thursday. “It would be the new precedent because LeBron was the last and [Simmons] has the makings in the mind of the NBA that he could be a great, great player. So that’s basically what they’re saying, he’s going to get a $100 million deal. I would understand that.”

LeBron signed a $90 million deal right out of high school with Nike. He has since signed a $500 million lifetime deal with Nike and that relationship has worked for both sides.

Nike still dominates the market and all things being equal most players — particularly young ones — would rather sign with the swoosh. That said, it’s a business and Nike can’t afford to lose another rising star to Under Armour or Adidas (which inked James Harden last summer).

Good for Simmons. But that’s a lot of cash for a guy with a broken jump shot.