Toronto Raptors star, New Balance sign mega-million shoe deal
Kawhi Leonard, an All-Star small forward with the Toronto Raptors, couldn't reach a suitable agreement with his current endorser, Jordan Brand, so he found someone else to fill the shoes. Leonard has signed a multi-year deal with New Balance, a company looking to get back into the game.
The deal has yet to be consummated, according to Leonard. He said during a conference yesterday morning, "It's not official. Me and New Balance haven't announced anything." At a possible dig at the Jordan Brand, and an attempt to push the New Balance deal forward, he attended the conference wearing socks - no shoes.
Details of the agreement have not yet been released; however, it could be worth over $5 million a year. This is in line with a deal Leonard rejected from Jordan Brand earlier this year, which was said to be worth $22 million for four years. Leonard's contract with Jordan officially expired on October 1.
If the predictions on the money amount hold, Leonard would be among the top 15 players in the NBA to score multi-million-dollar shoe deals. Leonard has been fundamental in helping the Raptors achieve their 18-4 record, which gives him a lot of bargaining power and gives New Balance a lot of incentive to sign him up.
New Balance is trying to stage a comeback and has relaunched its basketball footwear line. It has tried to secure a few key deals to help its efforts - such as those it sought with Gordon Hayward and Kelly Oubre, Jr., but has not yet been able to find a player willing to step up.