After almost seven years Jordan Brand and Kawhi Leonard will be parting ways. The footwear will brand will not be offering the NBA All-Star an extension on his contract.
According to ESPN, the Toronto Raptors small forward will be a sneaker free agent in September. Apparently, the house that Air Jordan built did not offer him a new deal. The report claims that talks about a renewal started between the two parties earlier this year but stalled after he turned down a four-year, $22 million dollar extension.
While on paper the Los Angeles native’s refusal of $22 million might be short-sighted several other NBA players have flourished significantly on the open market with other shoe companies. In 2015 James Harden secured a $200 million dollar deal with adidas. More recently, Giannis Antetokounmpo drew interest from competitors making his resigning with Nike in 2017 more fruitful.
Analysts theorize his recent trade to Toronto, a smaller media market compared to San Antonio, and a recent quadriceps injury have caused his stock to decline within the last season. Typically players are allowed to take meetings with other brands 60 days ahead of their contract expiration so he could start scheduling meetings as early as August.
Leonard originally signed to Jordan in 2011 when he entered the league. Since then he has become a fan favorite by securing a championship with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014 and winning several accolades including NBA Finals MVP and Defensive Player of the Year (2015, 2016).
During his Jordan Brand Run Kawhi starred in several high profile advertisements including a Gatorade “Like Mike” campaign.
Via Nice Kicks
Photo: Foot Locker
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