Ben Simmons is one of the most exciting prospects to enter the NBA since Lebron James, despite the performance of his LSU Tigers this season (18-12 overall, 11-6 SEC), and he could be on the verge of cashing in with his shoe deal.
When Lebron entered the NBA, his deal with Nike was reportedly worth $90 million. According to SNY, Simmons’ deal could broach or go beyond $100 million. The Aussie 6-foot-10 power forward is likely to sign with Nike, though Adidas and Under Armour could enter the bidding and drive up the price even higher.
“The number doesn’t astonish me, the number’s been stagnant since LeBron,” grassroots sneaker guru Sonny Vaccaro said to SNY. “It would be the new precedent because LeBron was the last and [Simmons] has the makings in the mind of the NBA that he could be a great, great player. So that’s basically what they’re saying, he’s going to get a $100 million deal. I would understand that.”
Simmons has plenty of Nike ties. His high school, Montverde Academy, is a Nike school, his former High School coach Kevin Boyle worked on the Nike sponsored AAU circuit, and LSU is of course a Nike school itself. Still, it’s not a fait accompli he signs with the Swoosh.
“Adidas and Under Armour may throw a number out there, maybe more to push it up,” Vaccaro said. “I would say maybe [$100 million] is not enough because times have changed. We’ve seen $20 million-a-year contracts now but they’ve been for established players.”
“Under Armour is on a roll with Steph Curry and they’ve gotta get another young one now and this kid is in a great position.”
If you’ve been missing out on watching Simmons play and waiting for the NCAA Tournament to see him, that might not have been a good decision. Barring a SEC tournament win for LSU, Simmons could be the first No. 1 overall pick since Michael Olowokandi to miss the NCAA Tournament when he declared for the draft.