By Michael Donovan
Sixers No. 1 pick in last Thursday’s draft Ben Simmons hasn’t even signed his NBA contract and he’s already a very rich 19 year-old!
From the beginning of negotiations with Nike and Adidas for a shoe and apparel deal, Simmons sought a lucrative contract beyond the norm for an NBA rookie, even for the player who was the No. 1 overall pick.
Simmons’ representatives, Rich Paul and Mark Termini of Klutch Sports Group, developed a plan predicated on patience. The first best deal wasn’t the one they were going to take.
On May 5, Simmons and his reps met with Adidas in Los Angeles, and four days later, they met with Nike in Portland.
For the next month, Paul, CEO of Klutch Sports and Simmons’ agent, and Termini, the attorney and contract negotiator for Klutch, bargained with both companies.
On June 6, Simmons signed a five-year, guaranteed $20 million contract with Nike, multiple people with direct knowledge of the deal told USA TODAY Sports.
The deal also includes bonuses that will push the value above $20 million. Some bonuses are achievable with solid efforts such as All-Rookie team and Rookie of the Year, and some, such as first-team All-NBA and MVP, are difficult to attain.
But if Simmons turns into a once-in-a-generation player, bonuses could send the deal above $40 million.
What makes this deal unique? Nike doesn’t normally do deals at this base salary or include a bonus package at the level contained in Simmons’ contract, according to people with knowledge of the contract. The deal also goes higher than what recent No. 1 picks have received in shoe and apparel contracts.
Simmons was the No. 1 target for Nike and Adidas, and the final offers from both companies were higher than the original offers. Adidas made a serious push and appealed to Simmons’ personality with personalized videos featuring DJ Khaled andPusha T.
Even with Klutch’s connection to Nike – Paul represents Cleveland’s LeBron James who has a lifetime deal with Nike – Adidas wasn’t ruled out from the start despite perceptions that Simmons-to-Nike was a done deal, multiple people told USA TODAY Sports.
Adidas made a competitive offer that has been described as “in the ballpark” compared to Nike’s offer, but Adidas’ offer also came with restrictions that reduced the value of the deal if he didn’t meet specific statistical benchmarks, according to multiple people.