As most of you know, the following three things have strong ties to the Maryland/D.C. area:
- Kevin Durant
- Under Armour
- The Washington Wizards
So naturally, if there's a rumor that that connects two of those things together, people are going to try to find ways to connect all three together in a happy package. So let's talk about the rumors.
Kevin Durant is a shoe free agent for the first time in his career. The seven year deal that Durant signed with Nike expired recently, and Under Armour is making a big push to make Durant the new face of their company. According to the Baltimore Business Journal, Durant canceled a scheduled trip to Nike headquarters this week, likely so he could meet with Under Armour:
It's not clear what else Durant, a Maryland native, had on his calendar, but a cryptic tweet from an Under Armour executive might offer a hint.
Michael McBride, Under Armour's senior manager of sports marketing, today tweeted: "Wish I could tell everyone what is going on today." The tweet included a photo of some Under Armour-branded bottled water on a basketball court and a note pad that appeared to be set up for a presentation. It also included four hashtags: "#Future #GoodPeople #Recruiting #Partnerships."
Then, Jeff Ermann of insidemdsports.com posted this:
Sounds like Kevin Durant to Under Armour is close to done. Would be the seminal moment in UA's basketball climb.— Jeff Ermann (@insidemdsports) August 6, 2014
Hearing the Under Armour deal for Kevin Durant could be in the neighborhood of $325 million over 10 years.— Jeff Ermann (@insidemdsports) August 6, 2014
If those numbers are right, and Frank Isola of the New York Daily News is also reporting Durant could get $30 million per year from Under Armour, that's a monster deal for Durant. For some context, Carmelo Anthony is making less than $28 million in the final year of his new max deal with the Knicks. If Durant signs for that amount, he's essentially be signing a 10 year, super-max contract from Under Armour, on top of whatever other basketball and marketing money he earns.
Depending on how you view the Kevin Durant to the Wizards movement, there are a few ways to interpret Durant's latest reported move:
Signing with Under Armour is the clearest sign that Durant wants to return to his roots
Certainly, endorsing a Maryland-based company in need of a megastar to take their company to the next level would be a big boost to the local economy.
Getting a mega shoe deal makes it easier to leave money on the table when he negotiates his next NBA contract.
Like we just said, if he's making $30 million per year or more with that shoe deal, that will outpace anything any team could offer him in free agency, including the Thunder. With the Under Armour money in the bank, it becomes that much easier to take a hometown discount and play for the Wizards.
Kevin Durant is a soulless capitalist who will go wherever the money takes him
Remember, the Thunder are still the only team who can offer Durant a five year max deal when he hits free agency in 2016, and thanks to the current CBA, Durant can't strongarm the Thunder into a sign and trade so he can have his cake and eat it too. Under the current CBA, sign and trade deals are capped at four years. To date, Durant hasn't left a cent on the table in his NBA negotations, and he's probably leaving the only shoe company he's ever worked with so he can make a boatload of money.
Former high school teammate Greivis Vasquez is also an Under Armour endorser
Yeah, but he plays for the Raptors, who, in case you forgot, are also trying to make a play on Kevin Durant.
Kevin Durant always finds ways to connect back to his roots
Remember that time when he graduated high school and he had a chance to play with a hometown school like Georgetown or Maryland and he was all like "Nah, I'd rather go to Texas and play for Rick Barnes." Wait...
Advantage: Whichever team signs Rick Barnes to be their head coach.