Compton native DeMar DeRozan has frequently been discussed as a possible free agency target for the Los Angeles Lakers this summer, with the thought being that with the Lakers are unlikely to be able to recruit the biggest fish in the 2016 free agent class, they could use some of their league-leading $65.8 million in cap space to offer DeRozan a max deal.
While Toronto could still offer DeRozan an extra fifth year and higher annual raises on his next contract, his NBA contract might not be the only factor in play. DeRozan will also be choosing his next shoe endorsement this summer, and according to NBA shoe deal expert Nick DePaula of the Vertical, that endorsement could be worth significantly more in Los Angeles.
"If he were to go to his hometown Lakers per se, then his shoe deal could possibly triple," said DePaula during an appearance on "the Vertical Podcast with Woj. "If he were to be on the Lakers, and leading perhaps the next wave of the Kobe line for Nike or something like that, then his value would skyrocket I think."
This skyrocketing value wouldn't apply to all shoe deals across the board, however. According to DePaula, DeRozan would see the most additional money if he endorsed a foreign shoe instead of a domestic one.
"[The extra value would] be almost negligible if he stays with a U.S. brand. If he looks to a Chinese brand... then it could become a big difference in cash," said DePaula. "And the key factor being there is that the Lakers are that historical franchise in the minds of the Chinese fanbase and Chinese companies"
While it will probably take more than a shoe deal to convince DeRozan to make a homecoming, these are the types of factors many don't take into account when trying to predict a player's next destination. It also reinforces the fact that despite the rush to declare the advantage of big markets dead when Greg Monroe signed with the Milwaukee Bucks this offseason, market size does still have an effect on the economic value of a player's product endorsements, something that matters to many free agents when deciding where they want to play.