NBA rumors are swirling around Ben Simmons. He’s expected to be the top selection in the upcoming draft. According to Yahoo! Sports, Simmons is pushing towards being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers.
There’s a business side of the NBA that isn’t always noticed by typical basketball fans.
Being the first overall selection in the NBA Draft opens a lot more doors in the world of advertising and marketing. Ben Simmons is fully aware of that. The LSU Tigers star is reportedly currently angling to join the Los Angeles Lakers. Simmons likely knows that he would have more leverage in negotiations with Nike and Adidas if he were with the Lakers.
The retirement of Kobe Bryant leaves a huge void but also brings a huge opportunity. For what seems like forever, the Los Angeles Lakers have had a superstar player. D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle have yet to grab that mantle, so Ben Simmons knows that he has a good chance at becoming that next big star for the Lakers.
Ben Simmons currently has endorsement offers from Nike and Adidas. The former is offering him a five-year contract worth $7.5 million. Adidas is offering Simmons a five-year deal worth $10 million. Nike is pretty firm about its offer, as they are refusing to budge and offer a deal closer to $10 million.
At the root of the power play is Rich Paul. He represents Ben Simmons and is in charge of Klutch Sports Group. For those that are not aware, Paul is very close friends with LeBron James. He also represents the Cleveland Cavaliers star and handles many of his business affairs.
Klutch Sports Group favors Nike. Many of their clients are signed with that apparel company. That loyalty from Rich Paul and LeBron James might actually be leverage for Nike. They know that Paul and James want Ben Simmons with Nike. That means that Nike doesn’t feel the need to raise their offer.
NBA players don’t have as much leverage in deciding where they play as NFL players do. There’s no real way to force a trade. Ben Simmons wants to play in the National Basketball Association. Teams know that. The only small leverage that Simmons has is the fact that he’s simply letting general managers and coaches know where he would be happiest.
Going to the Los Angeles Lakers would provide Ben Simmons with benefits outside of a shoe endorsement deal. The team looks like they’re building something very special. In addition to Jordan Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell, and Julius Randle showing potential, the Lakers also secured the services of Golden State Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton.
If Jordan Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell, Ben Simmons, and Julius Randle can help make the Los Angeles Lakers a contender again, then all four guys will benefit greatly from it. More endorsement deals should up on their table once the team starts winning again. Rich Paul and Simmons also need to look at the long-term plan.
Once he gets his shoe endorsement deal and signs a contract with an NBA team, Ben Simmons needs to immediately get to work if he wants to reach his potential. The 6’10”, 240-pound small forward has the ability to become an All Star during his rookie season. Simmons also is the leading candidate to win the Rookie of the Year award, which was won by Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl Anthony Towns this week.
It looks like Ben Simmons wants to be a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, and the fan base would love for nothing more than for that to happen during the NBA Draft.
[Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images]