Report: Durant offered $265 million-plus shoe deal

Kevin Durant #52 of the 2014 USA Basketball Men's National Team stands on the court during a...

Kevin Durant #52 of the 2014 USA Basketball Men's National Team stands on the court during a practice session at the Mendenhall Center on July 30, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP)

THE SPORTS XCHANGE

, Last Updated: 4:58 PM ET

Nike pulled out all the stops to prevent Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant from signing a shoe deal with rival Under Armour.

Durant's seven-year contract with Nike is expiring and Under Armour offer him a 10-year deal worth $265 million to $285 million. However, Nike exercised its right to match any rival shoe company's offer to the All-Star guard, according to ESPN.

Nike officials on Saturday told Durant and his representatives at Jay Z's Roc Nation Sports that they would match Under Armour's offer. Nike also endorses Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant.

According to the report, Durant will probably make more money from Nike over the next two years than the $41.2 million the Thunder owe him in during that span. He can be a free agent after the 2015-16 season.

"For Nike, this was nothing to them," said analyst Omar Saad, senior managing director of ISI's luxury, apparel and footwear team. "They could easily build Durant's business enough, assuming normal margins, where they could generate a cash flow of $60 million a year. And Nike is really good at monetizing its marketing assets, way better than anyone else."

Saad said Durant's signature "KD" shoes generated $175 million at retail in the past year, according to SportsOneSource, a market retail tracking firm. Nike reportedly left lots of money on the table with Durant's shoe at $125 and fairly limited distribution to stores. Raising the price of the shoes and more widely distributing them for sale could make the deal worth it.

It is not clear if Nike simply matched Under Armour's deal or offered more. Under Armour's offer included 10 percent stock, which could make its offer worth more than its current value.

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank believed that getting Durant would be crucial to competing in the basketball shoe business and internationally.

ESPN sources said Durant's decision weighed on him but he feels relieved returning to Nike. There were strong indications that he would go with Under Armour.

Under Armour did manage to sway Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry from Nike, but lost out on Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, who returned to Nike.

 


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