After a stalemate over long-term extension talks with current endorser Jordan Brand, Toronto Raptors All-Star wing Kawhi Leonard has agreed to a multi-year shoe deal with re-emerging brand New Balance, according to league sources.
As a member of the characteristically stoic San Antonio Spurs, Leonard has garnered a reputation of being stone-faced and serious when it comes to being on the court and off it. Thus far, the only other basketball player to join New Balance's roster is 2019 NBA prospect Darius Bazley, who is now making $1 million as an intern with the company.
2018 has taken Kawhi Leonard to a new team and a new shoe sponsor. Going over to New Balance might not make sense now, but it could sooner than later.
While terms have not been disclosed, industry expectations are that New Balance is likely to have offered significantly more than $5 million per year.More news: Macron Heard Telling Saudi Prince: 'You Never Listen to Me'
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First, there was widespread confusion, and the agreement that this move was the most Kawhi Leonard thing ever.
Leonard is one of the early MVP candidates in his first year with the Toronto Raptors.
When the news of Leonard signing with New Balance got out, however, Black Twitter and NBA Twitter went to work on Kawhi choosing to endorse "dad shoes". Leonard is averaging 24.3 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.8 steals as the Raptors sit atop the National Basketball Association at 18-4, the best record in the league right now.
The Raptors (18-4) now have the best record in the National Basketball Association.