The newest Golden State Warriors All-Star is also a sneaker free agent, but it appears that won’t be the case for long. According to a report from Marc Stein of The New York Times, the 23-year old Russell is nearing a deal with Li-Ning, a Chinese sports apparel and sneaker company.
Russell will be joining Way of Wade, a brand of Li-Ning (similar to Jordan Brand being a brand of Nike).
Basketball development of a different sort from China: The Li-Ning brand Way of Wade has been pushing to close a lucrative deal with new Warriors guard D'Angelo Russell to make Russell a brand ambassador, according to industry sources— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) October 17, 2019
Way of Wade is, as the name might suggest, an apparel line that Li-Ning created for former NBA Finals MVP Dwyane Wade in 2013. The line has been rather limited in signing other NBA players, so this is a good get for them. And from Stein’s tweet, it sounds like the price is right for Russell as well.
This has likely been in the works for a while, as NBC Sports Bay Area’s Logan Murdock reported that Russell has been wearing Way of Wade sneakers a bit during the preseason.
D’Angelo Russell has been wearing Li Nings for much of the preseason, aside from Oct. 10 vs Minny, when he wore Alec Burks’ Adidas. https://t.co/N3ChC6kSlB— Logan Murdock (@loganmmurdock) October 17, 2019
Many NBA endorsement deals with Chinese companies have taken a hit in light of the recent tension between the league and China. Anta - which sponsors both Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney - notably ceased any contract extensions with NBA athletes.
But it looks like Russell is all right.