By Dan Bernstein —
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) Bulls guard Zach LaVine is ready for a run as the most significant player for one of the NBA’s best-marketed franchises, and Adidas wants to be a part of it.
LaVine and the company have agreed to an endorsement deal that will pay him to $35 million over four years, per an ESPN report, after several companies negotiated to partner with him. The ultimate winner of his services convinced him that, “I have a chance to legitimately become a face of the brand.”
The 22-year-old LaVine jumps to Adidas after three years with Nike and now can become a shoe-company free agent again in the prime of his career. He’s set to be a basketball free agent after this year, albeit a restricted one, and is still recovering from a torn ACL that’s expected to have him sidelined for several more weeks. But this all but guarantees that he remains a Bull and likely a very wealthy one, as he told ESPN that another attractive aspect of Adidas is “brand presence already in Chicago.”
If all parties are correct, everybody wins. The Bulls and their fans get a dynamic young star with top-end athleticism, LaVine gets paid and promoted and Adidas gets both new and continued exposure with connection to a top-three media market and a team with proven worldwide sales traction.
And Lauri Markkanen gets at least one competent teammate for a while.