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Kawhi Leonard and Jordan Brand Hit a Snag in Contract Extension Talks

kawhi leonard jordan brand extension 2
Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs’ star forward Kawhi Leonard and Jordan Brand nearly agreed to a contract extension worth over $20 million but negotiations have broken down, according to several sources that spoke with ESPN.

Leonard, one of the league’s brightest stars, is making less than $500,000 per year from his endorsement deal with Jordan Brand — a small sum considering some of the brand’s athletes make nearly $10 million per season.

Known for its stinginess in granting signature shoe lines, the extension did not include a signature shoe for Leonard. Jordan Brand has only created signature sneaker lines for Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook, and Michael Jordan in its long history.

Leonard and his representatives ultimately rejected the extension offer as they “didn’t feel that the new deal reflected the forward’s accomplishments and standing within the league,” sources told ESPN.

It is also important to note that Leonard is currently sitting out due to an injury to his right quadriceps tendinopathy; he has only appeared in nine games this season.

Leonard will become a restricted free agent if no agreement is made by October 1, meaning that he will have the opportunity to sign with any brand. However, Jordan Brand will have the right to match any offer.

Besides the shoe deal, Leonard also has to worry about his upcoming future with the San Antonio Spurs, as he is eligible for the “supermax” contract extension this summer. Leonard’s commitment to Jordan Brand remains unclear.

kawhi leonard jordan brand
Eric Gay/Associated Press

Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports


Sources via ESPN

  1. I feel like “stinginess” is a biased term. They have been selective in the most objective sense. Melo and CP lines weren’t selling, and said players were dwindling in popularity, so they rightfully got cut. Jimmy Buckets hasn’t totally lived up to having a sig and neither has Blake. As much as Kawhi has arguably been able to play on an MVP level, and got his FMVP through a hell of a Finals performance, he’s not the full sales package like Westbrook was even if he can return 100%. He doesn’t have that same presence and that’s just business. As it is, I think Nike was gambling on PG to become a Laker, more so than give him a sig based on talent. It’s just being strategic. The Adidas deal with Rose would’ve been a big mistake if he didn’t maintain overseas popularity and his shoes weren’t consistently exceptional.

    I kinda hope Kawhi signs with Li-Ning or something, to increase the likelihood of getting a well-invested sig that gives us something else to shop for in the market.

    1. I agree with all of this. I don’t want to echo every point one at a time but I agree. I think his biggest complaint is probably the salary more than the getting a signature shoe issue. I guess 500k is low for someone of his caliber if I read that correctly but JB would never really give him a sig. He’s not that type of player. He doesn’t have the flare. He has the skills but just wouldn’t move product because he’s that blue-collar type of baller if there can be such a thing. Dude brings his lunch pale to work, does what he does, and goes home…or at least he did before injury. Hopefully, he can get back to “normal” and go beyond that but this year just hasn’t been his year in the media or on the court since he’s barely been there. Him getting a sig with a diff brand could definitely help everyone though. I’m impressed with what the other brands continue to put out for their stars.

      1. In CP3 and Melo’s defense though, Jordan Brand never really put effort into designing and updating their sneakers. There was no way they would let their shoes be better than the Air Jordan line. They could’ve pushed innovation in different ways with each line too, instead of super/Ultra fly models, The CP3 line could’ve had more raw materials and introduce react and Melo could’ve had Full length zoom like the WhyNotZero.1 and a different knit.

        Jordan Brand just doesn’t care like that

      2. I don’t know because there is something to be said for personality or flare or style. The reason I think Russ is as popular is his aggressive attitude on and off the court. Harden might be strictly about balling but I think the way that he scores is “flashy” to some. The same could be said of Curry since his shooting ability is just something that people feel they have never seen before and rightfully so. I think as we’ve watched the CP3 and Melo lines decline in sales, it hasn’t been their skill that diminished when the sales started to drop.

  2. If he doesn’t get a signature shoes he won’t sign any new deal no matter how much money they offer him. Probably JB believes that the Klaw doesn’t have so much impact nowadays.

  3. Less than $500,000 per? You kidding me? Go with another brand. They’ll pay him more and probably give him a sig.

  4. UA needs to bolster their basketball roster. Don’t let this one slip by. It’s like they stopped trying when they couldn’t land KD. Steph can’t carry the whole division.

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