Puma to pursue established players rather than focusing on prospects

With their return to the basketball space, Puma created a ton of positive press and headlines last offseason with a sensational rookie class.

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The brand signed endorsement deals with five of the first 16 picks in the draft, including each of the top two selections. Now with potential stars like Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III already in the mix moving forward, it seems unlikely that Puma makes a similar splash again.

Here is what Puma’s Director of Brand and Marketing Adam Petrick said when asked about their strategies for the upcoming draft by our own Alex Kennedy (via HoopsHype):

“It’s hard to surprise people with the same technique twice. You can’t go back to the well too frequently and try to produce that same ‘whoa’ moment.”

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Of course, the splashiest possible move would be to land 2019 rookie Zion Williamson. But he is projected to earn around $100 million on his sneaker deal, which would be a huge price to pay. While all major sneaker companies are expected to make a run at the presumed No. 1 overall pick, it seems more likely that Puma targets established players for their roster.

Adidas and Nike are considered the favorites to land Williamson though the latest odds have Puma with an implied probability of 20.0 percent.

Last summer, Puma also added DeMarcus CousinsRudy Gay, Terry Rozier and Danny Green, which feels closer to the direction that they are likely heading in the near future.

Kennedy reported that Cousins signed for “significantly more” than what he was making on his previous deal with Nike. They’ll presumably have to use that type of strategy to persuade other top players around the league to make a similar jump.

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Petrick told Kennedy that Puma is looking for “attitude, personality chemistry” as well as “being the right match from a philosophical standpoint” when recruiting potential clients.

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