In late February, it was announced that Damian Lillard had the option to opt out of his rookie shoe deal with Adidas. Having been named rookie of the year last season and selected as an NBA All-Star this season, he had met the requirements to pursue a more lucrative contract. Nike was the anticipated frontrunner to sign the Portland star, but it seems that he is now close to simply re-signing a better deal with Adidas.
Interestingly, this means that Lillard has potential to become their flagship. The current NBA face of Adidas, Derrick Rose, has missed nearly two full seasons with various knee injuries and will in all likelihood never be the same player that won the MVP award in 2011. It’s sad to think about, but it’s true. That is what happens to explosive players after multiple knee surgeries. Adidas may be willing to overpay Lillard in an attempt to recover hemorrhaged money on Rose’s $200 million deal.
According to Chris Haynes of CSNNW, Lillard and his agent were spotted at a Los Angeles Marriott with Adidas officials to discuss the new contract. An announcement is expected in the coming days. This is where you see young stars make their real money. Drafted 6th overall, Lillard’s NBA contract is worth between $3-4 million per season through 2016, but that’s chump change compared to what he stands to gain by inking another shoe deal.
The figure on Lillard’s next paycheck from Adidas is inflated by the Portland Trail Blazers’ success this year. With six games remaining in the regular season, Portland is hovering around the 4th or 5th seed after missing the playoffs entirely last year. Much of this is due to Lillard’s individual growth. He has averaged 21.1 points and 5.6 assists per game during this NBA season.