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Donovan Mitchell’s Shoe Deal May Come With Unfortunate Strings Attached

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Alex Kennedy Explains some Adverse Details About Endorsement Contracts

As a fan of a small market NBA team, you have to accept that there are some innate disadvantages. There’s really no ifs, ands, or buts around it. The Utah Jazz are never going to be the biggest players in free agency nor have the greatest revenue and that limits your ability to build a championship-contending team.

However, in recent years I was beginning to believe that market size no longer mattered as much. With the modern age of social media, you can build your brand to an international level regardless of what team you play for. In part, I still believe that to be true. But the deck is stacked against small market teams.

Alex Kennedy wrote an interesting article over at Hoops Hype which can be found here. I’ve snipped out the most interesting pieces for you to digest:

When a sneaker-company executive and an agent are negotiating a shoe deal, there are no such restrictions, which allows both sides to be very creative during the talks.

There are individual incentives for averaging certain stats, leading the NBA in scoring, playing a certain number of games, winning an end-of-season award (such as MVP), making an All-Star team, All-NBA team or All-Rookie team and so on.

Interestingly, some companies include a small-market reduction as well. Just as brands give players a bonus for being in a large market (such as Los Angeles or New York), they’ll significantly dock their pay if they land in certain small markets. Players are essentially being fined for ending up in a small-market city, even if it’s not the player’s choice.

“I’ve seen some brands include a 20-percent reduction for landing in certain small markets,” DePaula said. “I know for a fact that one brand had Sacramento and Orlando among others on that list of markets.”

Ok that’s something I’ve never seen or heard before. Pay deductions for landing in a small market!?

Donovan Mitchell is one of just a handful of players with a signature shoe. Signature shoe deals have been reported to be anywhere between 5 and 15 million dollars per year, so a 20% reduction for signing with a small market team is no chump change. Just imagine the percent increase a player might get for going somewhere like LA or Miami. You better believe that’s played a role in player decisions in the past.

Donovan Mitchell isn’t slated to be an unrestricted free agent for several years, thankfully. And fortunately all signs currently point to him staying around for that entire time.

So we have plenty of time to enjoy his exciting play before we really have to worry about him leaving. And I plan on enjoying every game of that ride. But if the 4th of July taught us one thing, it’s to never take for granted an All Star in a Utah Jazz jersey.

Personally, I think Donovan Mitchell cares more about winning than he does about money. If the Jazz front office can prove capable of consistency providing a winning team with at least an outsiders shot at a title, I think we’ll see him stay here beyond his 2nd contract.

At least that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself while cooped up in my house for days to weeks on end.