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Projected No. 1 Pick Deandre Ayton Joins Marvin Bagley III in Signing with Puma

Puma is making a strong push at getting back into the basketball scene by hiring Jay-Z as creative director of Puma Basketball. Now, it appears the brand has found a young duo to get back into basketball with a splash.

We reported late week that Puma had signed Duke’s Marvin Bagley III, its first deal with a basketball athlete in 20 years. We’ve now learned that Puma will also be signing Arizona’s Deandre Ayton, and has just signed its first lifetime deal with Walt ‘Clyde’ Frazier, the basketball legend the Puma Clyde is named after.

Bagley, a projected top-3 pick in this Thursday’s upcoming NBA Draft, was a standout for Duke and is looking to become a premier offensive-minded big man in the NBA. According to Bleacher Report, Bagley chose Puma because “[he] wanted to be different.”

Ayton, the all-but-guaranteed top overall pick, is the draft’s all-around best prospect and will make his presence felt the second he steps onto the floor. Ayton chose Puma simply because “[it] was the best deal” and for comfortability — his mother knows a few people that work for the brand.

There’s a solid chance that Ayton and Bagley will be the first two players selected on Thursday night. The Phoenix Suns are very high on Ayton and Bagley has drawn interest from the Sacramento Kings at No. 2. Regardless of when they are selected, this looks to be a huge move for Puma.

Puma has not signed a basketball player since 1998 when it inked Vince Carter to a small deal. Nike picked him up two years later, and the rest is history.

The two will debut Puma’s new on-court sneaker (which will be unveiled on Wednesday) at a later date, and will release exclusive off-court apparel in the near future as well.

Walt Clyde Frazier and Deandre Ayton
BROOKLYN, NY – JUNE 18: Walt ‘Clyde’ Frazier and Deandre Ayton attend the PUMA Hoops HQ kickoff where Walt ‘Clyde’ Frazier signs the first ever life long contract with PUMA on June 18, 2018 in Brooklyn. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for PUMA)
  1. Nice to see more competition. Never been impressed with Puma from a comfort or performance standpoint. I actually ended up returning a pair of Tsugi I bought online for cheap because the cushion felt like bricks. I got them SUPER cheap but I knew I would never wear them because they were so uncomfortable.

    Puma has NRGY technology which was made by the same company that developed Boost for Adidas. Heskicks wasn’t impressed with the current implementation but its possible they could alter the compound and offer something really nice. Hopefully they do. These guys being signed doesn’t interest me at all but If they offer a good new shoe that will.

  2. Wonder if they’ve already got a couple of models to show these guys. I would think they are going to have some footwear ready to go for the start of the season.

  3. “The two will debut Puma’s new on-court sneaker (which will be unveiled on Wednesday) at a later date, and will release exclusive off-court apparel in the near future as well.”

    New shoe unveiling on Wednesday.

  4. they better have a dang good marketing strategy in place. over the years seen so many brands try to make a comeback and it went nowhere bc they had no clue how to make it happen. this is an interesting start. big men have never really moved the needle when it comes to basketball shoes so signing Ayton is a bit of a head-scratcher.
    they cant expect to do anything for a few years anyway. they better be in it for the long haul bc they are going to be losing money in the short term.
    the best strategy is usually a slow build. UA took forever to get their basketball product to market. they took their time and eventually caught lightning in a bottle w/ Curry. looks like Puma is trying to throw around a lot of money to get it going right away, which almost never works. I hope it does bc I love to see new options

  5. if y’all had been paying attention to puma the last few years you’d know that they’re serious, they’ve been refining ignite cushioning and evoknit for a while now and i’d definitely say that they’re on par with any other technologies out there, their football (or ‘soccer’) boots are also more than decent, so i expect that their first basketball shoe will be competitive for sure

    1. I have some Evoknit Ignite Low trainers and they’re suuuuuper comfy. The knit is great and cushion is bouncy and responsive. Actually feels like a slightly firmer Pure Boost ZG pair that I have.

      If they can transfer that tech into a basketball shoe it’s gonna be a good one.

  6. Puma has brand recognition, old school followers, which speaks to a legacy that you cannot buy, they actually have a head start in this regard. So with the lifestyle division making noise already, it can only help the athletic division’s public profile. One thing they do not want to do is to muddy their waters by listening to these assholes holla bout “tech”. Once you get sucked into that discussion, the sycophants of the swoosh begin to chime in ad nauseam. Fuck all of them, do your thing PUMA.

  7. As a former owner of Puma Vinsanity (2nd signature shoe for V. Carter), I do want to see Puma back in basketball shoe business. Hopefully they could also retro VC line in one day. They are decent shoes with superb quality /material.

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