Howard to Chicago

Is Adidas keeping Dwight Howard out of Chicago?

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Bulls fans don’t get why Dwight Howard doesn’t have the Bulls on his list of teams where he will sign an extension.

The Bulls are big market team, they are contenders with a good core of role players, and with Howard and Derrick Rose they would be in title contention for a decade. Plus Chicago has Lou Malnati’s — what more could you ask for?

But Howard’s list is Lakers, Mavericks and Nets. And maybe the Magic (if you really think he would stay). Even though the Bulls could probably offer the best trade package of young players and picks the Magic would see. So what is holding this up?

It might be Adidas, the shoe company of both Howard and Rose, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo (via Eye on Basketball).

And as one high-ranking sneaker executive says, “Adidas simply cannot have its two signature players on the same team in the same market. … Derrick is the face of that market, owns that market, and Adidas can’t possibly have maximum bang for its buck with Dwight there.

“It serves Adidas no purpose. They need them as rivals in competing markets.”

Howard knows this, too. He has an Adidas renewal on deck in the next year, and Los Angeles and Brooklyn guarantee him maximum money. The shoes aren’t the sole reason, but it’s a reality. In an NBA where the owners want the superstars worth $50 million and more to make far less than market value, it’s hard to imagine you’ll get them to take far less on endorsements.

In today’s NBA world, this seems completely plausible. Adidas and shoe money will not be the sole determining factor, but it will be in the mix. If you don’t think this is how business gets done in the sometimes shady world of the NBA, you are kidding yourself. This is exactly how it gets done. And Woj is right that the big stars consider endorsements and what their shoe company thinks choices for where to play.

Right now this is all moot, the Magic have put the breaks on talks. But when those talks get rolling again, know that Adidas is not rooting for Howard in a Bulls uniform.