Ayton Wearing Nike Shoes While Puma Irons Out Kinks
Suns C Deandre Ayton has worn Nike shoes during the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas despite signing a multiyear deal with Puma last month because Puma is "ironing out kinks" with his shoe size, according to Master Tesfatsion of BLEACHER REPORT. Ayton said, "I wear size 18. What we're trying to do is make the best [shoe] possible. They want me to perform well. That's why I'm wearing those right now" (TWITTER.com, 7/10). BUSINESS INSIDER's Tyler Lauletta wrote while the notion "might seem absurd -- what was Puma thinking signing an athlete it couldn't outfit? -- if Puma's footwear isn't there yet for Ayton, it's a far better play to keep him comfortable than risk his ankles on a work in progress." It is certainly "not a great turn of events for a brand that's trying to get back in the game as Ayton is getting double-doubles in Summer League as the top overall pick in the draft, and doing it all in a competitor's shoe" (BUSINESSINSIDER.com, 7/10).
FITS THE BILL: HOOPS HYPE's Bryan Kalbrosky noted Suns G Devin Booker is an "upcoming sneaker free agent who’s expected to get a ton of attention from the marquee brands next fall." ESPN's Nick DePaula appearing on HoopsHype Podcast said, "Booker is a guy that every brand is already circling." He added, "Book is a guy who, I think, checks every box in terms of what brands are looking for: off-court style, an exciting style of play on-court, an explosive scorer, a young guy. I think he could be the guy that a lot of brands are targeting next" (HOOPSHYPE.com, 7/10).