In their quest to chip away at Nike/Jordan Brand’s 90% market share, adidas has their sights set on a big fish. Nike’s contract with James Harden recently expired, essentially making him a restricted free agent, of sorts. adidas has swooped in and has offered the bearded one $200 million for his services, per Darren Rovell of ESPN. But, of course, Nike has the right to match that offer.
We recently saw a bidding war between Nike and Under Armour over Kevin Durant, who ultimately remained with Nike for somewhere between $265 – $285 million over ten years. But in the case of Harden, he’s not quite as big a name as Durant, and Harden doesn’t have his own Nike signature shoe (despite being featured in a number of commercials). Perhaps that’s reason for him to bolt, if it were solely up to him.
Given Derrick Rose’s knee woes over the past few seasons, Harden could step right in and be the premiere face on that roster, which is headlined by Rose, Damian Lillard and John Wall. His beard and fashion sense make him extremely marketable and I could see his shoe doing well.
But it all comes down to whether or Nike would like to pay someone else in excess of $200+ million. They let Steph Curry walk prematurely a few years ago and are surely still kicking themselves over that one.