Boston is projected to select Markelle Fultz with the No. 1 overall pick in next week's NBA draft, but on Thursday he had an impressive workout with the Los Angeles Lakers, which holds the No. 2 pick.
Nike said no to Lonzo Ball’s $1 billion demands, but the sneaker and sportswear giant signed Markelle Fultz, who is projected to be the No. 1 pick in next week’s NBA draft.
The former Washington freshman point guard made the announcement Friday on his Twitter account.
The terms have not been disclosed, but Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical is reporting its a multi-year endorsement deal.
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Fultz is the first 2017 draft prospect to sign a major deal with Nike. The Beaverton, Ore.-based shoe company also has deals with the NBA’s last two No. 1 draft picks Ben Simmons and Karl-Anthony Towns.
Ball and his father LaVar Ball set the asking price for an endorsement deal with UCLA freshman point guard who is a projected lottery pick and his two younger brothers at $1 billion. However, Nike, Under Armour and Adidas declined before the family launched its Big Baller Brand high-end shoes.
It remains to be seen who is the first player taken in the NBA draft – Boston has the No. 1 pick – but Fultz relishes what looks to be a future rivalry in the NBA with Ball.
“Lonzo is a great guard, so we’re both competing for the same position,” Fultz told the Associated Press after Thursday’s workout with the Los Angeles Lakers. “Stepping on the court, I’m going to try and beat him in everything I do, if that’s tying my shoe faster or anything.”
The Lakers, which LaVar Ball said is the preferred destination for his son, has has the No. 2 pick followed by Philadelphia, Phoenix and Sacramento.
Fultz averaged 23.2 points and 5.9 assists last season for Washington, which finished 9-22. Meanwhile, Ball led UCLA to the NCAA tournament Sweet 16 while averaging 14.6 points and a NCAA-leading 7.6 assists.
In their only Pac-12 matchup, Fultz scored 25 points on 9-for-19 shooting and Ball converted 7 of 12 shots for 22 points.