It's all about the shoes for Chandler Parsons. Oh, and the money.
After weighing interest from both adidas and Under Armour, Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons will be leaving Nike and has agreed to terms on a new long-term deal with Chinese brand ANTA, according to multiple sources.
Terms of Parsons' new shoe deal, negotiated by agent Dan Fegan, have yet to be disclosed, but Anta's offer is believed to have been substantially higher than others.
Players turning down Nike isn't something you hear about very often. Chinese brands are increasing in popularity, but Nike is still the apex of endorsements, if only because it's already tied to countless superstars.
But as DePaula points out, signing with the highest bidder makes sense for a player like Parsons.
The Rockets, stemming from Yao Ming's tenure with the team and Jeremy Lin's global popularity, have a "natural relationship" with Chinese footwear brands.
Past Rockets to sign with Anta and Peak—another Chinese brand and court sponsor at the Toyota Center in Houston—include Luis Scola, Ron Artest, Patrick Patterson, Kyle Lowry and Shane Battier, among others, according to DePaula.
Existing relations aside, Parsons is also a former second-round pick earning well under his market value. He is on Houston's books for $926,500 this season, a bargain when you consider he's averaging 17 points on 51 percent shooting per game.
Although he will be eligible for an extension this summer, it pays for him to cash in on the most lucrative endorsement deals now. Parsons maintains his salary is "still a lot of money," according to the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen, but he has to realize players his age (25) are making more.
Blake Griffin, who is 24, will earn nearly $16 million more than Parsons this season. Having already maximized his on-court earning potential, Griffin is able to accept lower offers from more recognizable companies like Nike, which according to DePaula, he did.
Not that Anta isn't a distinguished brand. Future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett is partnered with them, as is All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo. Boston's point man actually spurned Nike for Anta before Parsons did:
Parsons figures to cash in soon with a fat extension from the Rockets. His on-court production isn't something general manager Daryl Morey will allow to remain underpaid much longer.
Until then, Parsons has the mysterious, though presumably generous, terms of his latest off-court alliance to fall back on. So breathe easy.
Drinks are on him.