Report: Zach LaVine signs sneaker deal worth up to $35 million over four years

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Zach LaVine didn’t get a contract extension from the Bulls.

But he’s in line to get paid even before hitting restricted free agency next summer.

Nick DePaula of ESPN:

Zach LaVine has agreed to terms with Adidas on a four-year endorsement deal that could be worth as much as $35 million, industry sources told ESPN on Thursday.

The deal is also structured in a way to reward LaVine, a two-time Slam Dunk Contest champion who averaged 18.9 points last season with the Timberwolves, should he break out as an All-Star level player once he returns from the injury.

“It’s a different contract than anything we’ve done recently,” a brand source said.

LaVine is the biggest name on the large-market Chicago Bulls, a two-time dunk-contest champion and someone who spent much of last season averaging 20 points per game. He should appeal to many casual fans.

But I’m very curious the minimum LaVine can earn from this deal. He’s largely a jump-shooter (albeit, a much-improved one) in the halfcourt. All his athleticism – subject to scrutiny as he still recovers from a torn ACL – didn’t go to enough use during games. His all-around contributions, particularly defensively, are lacking.

As a result, LaVine will need major improvements before he leads a team deep into the playoffs or becomes an All-Star. He’s just 22, so he has time to grow, but don’t underestimate how far he must go.

So, expect LaVine to get back into the dunk contest. He’s reaching the point in his career where many players – especially former contest champions – bow out, but it’s probably his best ticket to the exposure necessary to justify this deal.