A little over a month ago, Chris Haynes of CSNNW reported that Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard would opt out of his endorsement contract with adidas in order to negotiate a new agreement. According to Haynes, there was a clause in Lillard contract that allowed him to opt out early should he win Rookie of the Year and be named to an All-Star roster. Lillard achieved both milestones, and thus earned the right to negotiate a new, more lucrative deal.
Today, it was announced that Lillard and adidas have renewed their partnership, albeit at a high dollar figure, which was always the most likely outcome even though the second-year guard supposedly entertained offers from other companies. And according to Sam Amick of USA Today, Lillard’s new deal is potentially the third-largest sneaker endorsement in the NBA …
Damian Lillard’s banner year continued Monday, when the second-year Portland Trail Blazers point guard finalized a new shoe contract with Adidas that is believed to be among the most lucrative of any player in the NBA.
While the exact figures of the deal were not immediately known, a person with knowledge of the contract said it is smaller only than that of Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose (reportedly $185 million over 13 years with Adidas) and the Miami Heat’s LeBron James (reportedly $20 million annually with Nike) among NBA players. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the financial terms are not typically disclosed.
According to Forbes, the next-largest contract after Rose and James (Forbes actually has Kobe Bryant making $34 million a year from Nike, second-most behind LeBron) is Kevin Durant at $14 million a year (though I’ve heard from multiple sources that Forbes numbers are off by quite a bit). If Lillard’s new deal with adidas is somewhere north of that … wow.
And while Lillard and his representation, Goodwin Sports Management, are the big winners, those of you who would like to see the Trail Blazers get more national attention have to be pretty happy with this news. That goes double if you’re hoping to own a pair of signature Damian Lillard sneakers, which one would assume would be in the works if his new endorsement is really in the eight-figure range.
UPDATE: Chris Haynes has a little more detail about Lillard’s contract …
The deal, according to another source, is an eight-year contract that has the potential to stretch out to 10 years if he reaches certain incentive clauses. We’ve confirmed Lillard’s new contract is slightly less than that of Derrick Rose.
When the Western Conference first round series between the Trail Blazers and Clippers started, many assumed it would be a quick affair, with the Clippers eventually moving on to face the Golden State Warriors in the second round. And after Warriors point guard Stephen Curry suffered a knee injury that will keep the reigning MVP sidelined for the start of the second round, much of the conversation revolved around how that would improve the Clippers’ chances of beating the defending champs in the Western Conference semifinals. The fact that the Clippers still had to beat the Trail Blazers two more times didn’t seem to make much of a difference.
A few days later, that narrative has flipped. Leading the series 3-2 with a chance to clinch in Game Six tonight at the Moda Center (tipoff scheduled for 7:30 pm on KGW, ESPN and 620 AM), the Trail Blazers are now Golden State’s presumptive opponent, as injuries to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have all but ended the Clippers’ playoff run.
But just as the Clippers still had to win four games to advance, so too do the Trail Blazers, which is a good reminder that there are no such thing as inevitability when it comes to sports. “That’s why the play the game,” might be trite, but it’s still as true as it ever was, something the Trail Blazers know as well as any team still alive in the postseason.
“We just go out there and play, we don’t really pay attention to what’s being said,” said CJ McCollum. “You can’t read into that too much. First we were supposed to get swept, first we were just happy to win a game, so you just go play. You don’t really worry about the other stuff, you just control what you can control, keep your mindset the same, understand that nothing is inevitable. You’ve got to go out there and play.”
Though the Trail Blazers were able to beat the Clippers 108-98 at Staples Center in Game Five sans Paul and Blake, a team led by JJ Redick, DeAndre Jordan and Austin Rivers still managed to take a five-point lead into the half and had the game tied at 71-71 going into the fourth quarter, so it’s not as if any team, including Portland, can just roll the ball out in a playoff game and expect to emerge with the victory. After all, if that were the case, the Clippers would already be in Oakland preparing for the Western Conference semifinals.
“We understand that they’re a good team,” said McCollum “Regardless of what’s happened, regardless of what injuries they’ve gone through, they’re still a good team and we’ve still got to go play the game.”
And we’re back. After the Trail Blazers defeated a shorthanded Clippers team 109-98 in Game Five at Staples Center to take a 3-2 lead in the first round series, Joe Freeman, he of The Oregonian/OregonLive.com, and I, Casey Holdahl of ForwardCenter.net/TrailBlazers.com, hit the Moda Center studios once again to deliver another playoff edition of the Rip City Report podcast. Please consider listening…
On this episode, Joe and I discuss the Trail Blazers being on the verge of winning just their second playoff series in the last 16 years, what we’re expecting to see during Game Six Friday in Portland, make our picks for the Trail Blazers’ MVP and most surprising during the first five games, how the injuries to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin change the narrative surrounding the series and answer some of your Twitter-submitted questions regarding Chris Kaman’s birthday, non-Moda Center places to watch Game Six, player playoff bonuses and give a few binge watching suggestions, not that you’d ever need to watch TV again with all these fine podcasts we’re providing for you.
After struggling in the first few games of their first round playoff series, the play of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in Games Three, Four and Five has been one of the main reasons the Trail Blazers hold a 3-2 advantage versus the Clippers. Mason Plumlee has arguably been Portland’s most valuable player, and both Al-Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless have delivered game-changing performances at times during the series, but the attention Lillard and McCollum draw from the Clippers’ defense has allowed for their teammates to have a chance to shine in the postseason. And despite L.A.’s defensive gameplan focusing almost exclusively on stopping Portland’s starting backcourt, Lillard and McCollum are combining to average just over 40 points a game during the 2016 playoffs.
Given that, and the fact that they even made the playoffs, let alone are a game away from winning Portland’s second playoff series in the last 15 years, TNT analyst Charles Barkley declared on last night’s edition of “Inside The NBA” that Portland’s backcourt is second only to Golden State’s, the team the Trail Blazers would face should they advance to the next round.