NBA

Zach Lavine.

Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine is one of the top shoe deal free agents

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The NBA is unarguably the biggest professional sports league when it comes to shoes, with brands willing to pay exorbitant amounts of money for stars to wear their apparel. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo stands as the biggest "shoe" free agent of the summer, with reports indicating Adidas is interested in making him one of the faces of their products. That's led Adidas to stall in creating a signature shoe for Andrew Wiggins.

Another rising star has the attention of shoe companies, though, and it's one that might come as surprising considering the way his most-recent season ended. When it comes to shoe deals, though, it's all about marketability. There's no denying his ability to raise eyebrows. 

Two-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest winner Zach LaVine may be leaving a promising core featuring Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, but being traded to a rebuilding Chicago Bulls team may prove to be a lucrative opportunity for LaVine. 

LaVine is still recovering from undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL, and with his shoe contract with Nike running out at the end of September, there's plenty of intrigue from brand looking at him as a potential ambassador. 

"The interest in Zach from a brand perspective was instantly raised when he went from being the third option in a small market to the primary option in a legacy market," Nima Namakian, LaVine's agent at BDA Sports, told ESPN's Nick DePaula

It's an interesting dynamic to consider. LaVine may never be the same player he was following major surgery, especially with much of his game based around his ability to get to the rim and elevate for spectacular dunks. 

That speaks to how much of an empire the Bulls have become, remaining one of the most popular teams in all professional sports on the back of Michael Jordan's six championships. If a marketable player is on the team it's enough to draw interest from brands. 

Nike, Adidas, Li-Ning, Anta and Peak have all emerged as suitors for LaVine, according to DePaula. One of the companies based in China even plans to make LaVine the only player they pitch to this offseason. 

Nike ultimately will have 10 business days to match any offers LaVine agrees to, working not unlike restricted free agency does. Everything remains in the air until Zach has an offer in hand and future in mind, though. 

It just goes to show that sometimes it's not about results, projections or any of that. It's about marketability, and a two-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion wearing a Bulls uniform has companies paying close attention. 

Topics:
Chicago Bulls
Central Division
Eastern Conference
NBA
Zach LaVine
Minnesota Timberwolves
Northwest Division
Western Conference
Jimmy Butler

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