Typically in the world of sports top draft picks usually sign endorsement deals with their “dream” brand or main stream basketball brands such as Nike, Jordan, Adidas or Under Armor. This summer a very unexpected yet popular brand made a giant leap back into the basketball shoe marketing business. Puma a brand who has not signed any NBA players since Vince Carter in 1998 made a jump and signed not 1… not 2… not 3… but 4 first round draft picks from the 2018 NBA draft.
#1 overall pick Deandre Ayton, #2 overall pick Marvin Bagley, #14 overall pick Michael Porter Jr, and #16 overall pick Zhaire Smith were the rookies that Puma landed this offseason. Puma began the summer of signing all of these lottery picks first by signing Marvin Bagley 5 year contact in which brings Bagley $2-3 million dollars in each year. Shortly after the signing of Bagley, the rest of the guys followed up shortly by signing their deals to Puma as well.
With targeting these younger athletes Puma hopes to begin to attract more up and coming athletes in the future. Not only was Bagley’s contract the largest rookie shoe endorsement dealsince Kevin Durant’s in 2007 it also came with an commitment from Puma to a grassroots infrastructure with the Bagley family that will be centered around skill devilment for the next generation of AAU players.
It dis not stop there for Puma, along side of these lottery picks Puma also signed two players that already have a name for theirselves in the league. One of those players is Spurs small forward Rudy Gay who signed his deal with Puma on June 20th becoming Pumas first vertern athlete for their resurgence as a competitive basketball shoe brand. This deal was a no brainer for Gay to sign because he is also signed to Roc Nations agency which is ran by rapper Jay Z who was selected as the new face of the brand earlier in the year.
The latest addition to the Puma team was Terry Rozier Celtics back up Point Guard who had a breakout playoff run after the injury to all star guard Kyrie Irving. Terry may not be a veteran but with his unique on and off the court style he will surely benefit to the Puma brand to try to make them a front runner in basketball sneakers for the first time in history.
Already with their established and trending street apparel, the Puma brand definitely is making strides in the right direction to jump back into the basketball sneaker market as well. Do you believe Puma will ever become a top 3 basketball sneaker brand ?
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Last NBA season all basketball fans watched the growth and development of Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum during both the regular season and even more in the C’s playoff run before losing a game 7 to Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
With the loss of all star small forward Gordon Hayward on opening night against the Cavs, the opportunity for a consistent second scoring option for the C’s was there for the taking. Tatum took full advantage of the opportunity averaging nearly 14 PPG and 5 RPG during the regular season. Not to bad for just a 19 year old rookie right ?
We all as basketball fans believed that this was the best we would see the young rookie during the 2017-2018 season, but with the loss of another all star Kyrie Irving for the remainder of the season and all the playoffs the C’s were in need of a new first option on the offensive end. Tatum took on this challenge and went on to boost his scoring number averaging almost 19 PPG in the playoffs.
The C’s came up short of the NBA finals but Tatum got straight to work during the off-season. On July 26th the young star got an one on one workout session in with the one and only Kobe Bryant. With someone like Kobe who has mastered nearly every element of the game and has that killer mentality showing him the ropes, Tatum is bound to be a force to be recon with the league for a very long time. Can not wait to see what tricks “the mamba” has taught Tatum when the season rolls around ! Do you think Tatum will become and all star this upcoming season ?
Although Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers may not have won the NBA Championship this past season the James family still added another trophy to their collection this summer.
This past weekend Lebron “Bronny” James Jr. and his AAU squad the North Coast Blue Chips went to North Carolina and won the 2018 USBA National Championship. Standing at nearly 6’1 going into the 8th grade Bronny showed that the apple does not fall too far from the tree in the James household. He may not have the raw athleticism that his father had at 13 years old but he has an elite skill set for his with still nice athleticism. Bronny can do it all out on the court but a couple things that separates him from the rest of the competition are his long range shooting ability, ball handling skills and most of all much like his father his unselfishness.
James is accompanied by other top players Rodney Gallagher who’s been showing all summer that he can score with the best of players, extreme athlete Miley Williams who even impressed Duke basketball Zion Williamson with his dunks on the teams visit to Duke University, Floor general Khoi Thurman who controls the game and seems to always make the right plays on the court , and lastly lights out shooter Gabe Cupps.
The whole James family or the nickname Lebron sr uses for his family “JamesGang” was there in attendance This last weekend to witness James Jr win the National championship. We could have just witnessed the beginning of the Legacy of Lebron “Bronny” James Jr this past weekend in North Carolina.
Watch out basketball world and college coaches because Bronny and the Blue Chips will be hitting the Highschool scene in one more year and not only is Bronny a D1 talent but this Blue Chips squad is full of D1 potential ! Congrats to the Blue Chips on their National Championship!
After the first round loss and being benched in the fourth quarter of game 6 of the series the Oklahoma City Thunder notified Carmelo Anthony that he would no longer remain in Oklahoma by the end of the summer.This afternoon the Thunder finally agreed to a deal to send former all star small forward Carmelo Anthony and a first round pick in 2022 to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Dennis Schroder and Mike Muscala.
This trade will save the Oklahoma City Thunder $100 Million in Cap space over the next few years and will allow them to go shopping maybe for another big name superstar to play along side Russell Westbrook and Paul George. Dennis Schroder will add a great spark off the bench at the point guard position for the Thunder, while Mike Muscala is expected to be traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in the near future.
Anthony will be waived by the Hawks and expected to sign with the Houston Rockets to fill the small forward position in Houston after the very unexpected departure of Trevor Ariza earlier this summer.
Despite in some people’s opinion being snubbed and not winning rookie of the year this past season, Donovan “Spider” Mitchell managed to take home an award at the 2018 ESPYS. After an incredible rookie season where he averaged 20.5 PPG, 3.7 APG , and 3.7 RPG in the regular season and 24.4 PPG , 4.2 APG , and 5.9 RPG in the postseason, he received the “Best Breakout Athlete” award at the 2018 ESPYS award show. Mitchell was selected 13th overall by a Utah Jazz that believed they would have to go through a long rebuilding process after losing Gordon Hayward to the Boston Celtics in the 2017 offseason.
Making an Instant Impact Mitchell led this Jazz team to a 48-34 record finishing 5th overall in a very tough Western conference. If that wasn’t enough Mitchell even led his team to defeat the 3 headed monster in Oklahoma City consisting of Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony in the first round of the playoffs before losing to Rockets in the conference semi finals. Many were not expecting such a great rookie season from Mitchell and that is why he was awarded with this best breakthrough athlete award.
On July 18th the San Antonio Spurs Agreed to a trade from the Raptors to send 2x Kia NBA defensive player of the year and 2014 Finals MVP and Shooting guard Danny Green to the Toronto Raptors for 4x Allstar DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a 2019 first-round pick.
After only playing 9 games in the 2017-2018 season due to a quad injury that was suffered before the season began, Kawhi voiced his frustrations with the organization and demanded a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers at the end of the season. Knowing that Kawhi Leonard will become a free agent next summer and has already stated what team he wants to play for many teams backed away from going into negations with the Spurs. There still were teams interested in negotiating though, since Kawhi announced he wanted to be traded big names such as Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard , and even young and up and coming superstars such as Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Kyle Kuzma began to be brought up in trade talks with the Spurs.
On July 16th unexpected talks between the Raptors and Spurs began who many believed would have been centered around teaming up DeMar DeRozan and Kawhi Leonard. No-one expected the Raptors to be negotiating a trade to send away a guy in DeMar DeRozan who just two summers ago took an 18 Million dollar pay cut to return to the Raptors instead of going back home and playing for the Los Angeles Lakers because he said he wanted to stay loyal to the Raptors Organization and bring a championship up north one day.
General Manager of the Raptors Masai Ujiri had other plans and when the opportunity presented itself to trade the 9 year Raptor who led the once forgotten about organization up North to multiple Eastern Conference Championships for a guy in Kawhi Leonard he jumped right on it. The unexpected trade received an instant reaction from not only Fans of the NBA but also players, and also one Big Raptor Fan “The 6 God” Drake who both thanked his friend DeRozan and welcomed Leonard to Toronto.
DeRozan even took to social media himself saying “Be told one thing & the outcome another. Cant trust em. Ain’t no loyalty in this game. Sell you out quick for a little bit of nothing” shortly before removing all posts from his instagram account. Easy to tell DeRozan is upset about being traded by the organization he stayed loyal to through both its ups and downs.
DeRozan was not the only player upset , multiple reports came out after the trade was made saying that Kawhi Leonard is unhappy about the trade to the Raptors and is willing to sit out the entire 2018-2019 season rather then play in Toronto. This will become a big problem for the Raptors if Leonard decides to sit out because with the departure of seems to be Raptors “kryptonite” LeBron James in Cleveland who’s heading to the Western Conference to join the LakeShow in Los Angeles, the Raptors seem to be a favorite to win the Eastern Conference and have a potentially to make it to the NBA finals this upcoming season.
Head Coach of the Spurs Gregg Popovich in an interview stated how he feels it is time to move on and that he is excited to coach a player in DeMar DeRozan and get to work with his team. While there are still many questions to be answered Up North in Toronto, the Spurs still seem to have a very competitive roster even after the trade and are prepared to compete for a championship this season along side their hall of fame coach. Do You think Leonard will suite up for the Raptors this season? Which team will have the better record this up and coming season?
One of the biggest headlines this offseason has been Kawhi Leonard and his frustration with the San Antonio Spurs. Immediately when the NBA season was over Kawhi voiced his frustrations and informed both management and head coach Gregg Popovich that he would like to move on from the organization and be traded preferably to the Los Angeles Lakers. Once alerted by Kawhi, Spurs general Manager R.C. Buford began working the phones to see what deals he could get for their 2 time both Kia defensive player of the year and all star, and once finals MVP.
Buford was not shy to inform teams interested in Leonard that the Spurs were not just giving him away for anything. Trade talks began with teams such as the Lakers, Blazers, 76ers and even the Celtics at one point in time but no deal was ever made with the teams. After a rejected trade from the Lakers to grant Leonard’s wish of playing in Los Angeles and land the Spurs more young talent to go along side of second year point guard Dejounte Murray. Spurs notified the league that they were looking to trade Leonard to an Eastern Conference team and not a team along side of them in the Western Conference.
After a standoff to see what team would offer the most assets for Leonard, on July 16th Raptors and Spurs began to engage in serious trade conversation and on July 18th finalized a deal to send Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Damar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl , and a protected first round pick in 2019. Do you believe that this Trade now makes the Toronto Raptors a front runner in the east ?