When healthy, you could say Kawhi Leonard is one of the best two-way players in the league. A 2x Champion and Defensive Player of the Year, he doesn’t go unnoticed. With his talents, a big time shoe company could greatly benefit with a deal including Kawhi. However, Air Jordan brand is not interested.
According to Nick DePaula of ESPN.com, the Jordan Brand will let Kawhi "walk when his contract expires later this year." Also stating, "Extension talks between Leonard and the Nike subsidiary stalled earlier this year after Leonard turned down a four-year, $22 million extension."
Many said he was the next superstar alongside LeBron James and Kevin Durant, with only a matter of time before he would sign a monster shoe deal. The season-ending injury and the drama with San Antonio, setback the Air Jordan Brand’s interest. Kawhi lacks communication with the fans, with his main page on Instagram being run by Kawhi’s sister. If he were to sign a shoe deal, he would be only be able to promote the shoes on court. He doesn’t have the appeal and high social status that Jordan Brand needs.
$5.5 million a year was a likely offer from Jordan Brand which is actually quite impressive. As Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes.com reported in June 2017, only 10 current or former players had shoe deals worth more yearly, with basketball icons Michael Jordan ($110 million), LeBron James ($32 million), Kevin Durant ($25 million) and Kobe Bryant ($16 million) topping the list.
Kawhi Leonard could actually get deals elsewhere from Adidas, Nike, Under Armour etc. The 27 year-old will be a big sneaker free agent next season alongside Joel Embiid, DeMarcus Cousins and Andrew Wiggins. However, missing out on the infamous Air Jordan Brand could be one to say “what could’ve been”.