Porzingis is getting paid by adidas. According The Vertical's Nick DePaula, Porzingis has signed a multiyear footwear deal with adidas that will pay the 21-year-old between $3 million and $6 million annually. The contract is the most lucrative shoe deal ever for a European basketball player.
But don't count out Porzingis' old sponsor, Nike. In 2012, as a 17-year-old playing professionally in Spain, Porzingis signed a four-year deal with the Swoosh that paid him $25,000 per season. As with most Nike contracts, the brand included a "right to match" clause on Porzingis' contract, meaning he is essentially a sneaker restricted free agent. Fans may remember Kevin Durant signed an offer sheet with Under Armour, only to have his asking price matched (and more) by Nike, where he re-signed in 2014.
But $25,000 to multiple millions is a big jump on Porzingis and DePaula reports Nike is "not expected to match the deal." Porzingis came to the U.S. with one year left on his old sneaker contract, which gave him a rookie year showcase for a larger deal. Under Armour and several Chinese brands were apparently in the mix, but Porzingis narrowed his final decision down to Nike and adidas.
Exactly. Shoe deals typically have a "match clause" that's very similar to how the NBA's restricted free agency works. https://t.co/17r7UPXoQX
— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) October 6, 2016
"All I can say is both Nike and adidas are first-class companies," Porzingis told The Vertical on Wednesday. "I would be lucky to align myself with either one. The amount of attention I received was flattering, but right now I am letting my agents handle the business side of things."
Porzingis is expected to wear adidas' high-top Crazy Explosive sneaker for the Knicks' opener at the Cavaliers. According to DePaula, Porzingis still has a ladder to climb to get a signature shoe. The 7-foot-3 Latvian would need to log a series of on-court performance thresholds, including an All-Star Game start, as voted by the fans.
Porzingis joins teammates Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah as high-profile adidas endorsers, while Carmelo Anthony, the other member of the Knicks' big four, is a Jordan Brand athlete.
As a rookie, Porzingis played in 72 games -- all starts – and averaged 14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. He won Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month three times, made the NBA All-Rookie First Team and was second in Rookie of the Year voting behind Karl-Anthony Towns.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.