Damian Lillard will opt out of his deal with adidas to become a sneaker free agent this summer, according to a report from Chris Haynes of CSN Northwest. Having reached a number of incentives built into the original contract, such as winning Rookie of the Year and becoming an All-Star, a source told Haynes it’s almost a foregone conclusion that the Portland point guard will test the market.
At this point, there’s been no official word from Lillard’s camp or adidas.
Because of his star profile and burgeoning reputation–the guy never misses games; he’s as clutch as anyone, and now he plays on one of the West’s best teams–Lillard could incite a bidding war between the major sneaker companies for his services. Returning to adidas for a better deal, or leaving to sign with Nike, Jordan, Reebok or Under Armour, could all be on the table.
Over the past year, Lillard has been one of the brand’s most visible athletes, helping to carry the D Rose line on the court during Derrick Rose‘s continued absence. Then during All-Star Weekend this year, Lillard set the bar even higher, competing in every event and increasing his popularity and marketability.
Haynes writes that retaining the All-Star point guard will be a top priority for adidas, which makes sense no matter what. Lillard is one of the league’s fastest rising stars and at just 23 years old, already has a solid global following.
What should he do?
Follow Sean on Twitter at @SEANesweeney.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.