On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Lakers will find out whether or not they keep their top-three protected draft pick during the NBA Draft Lottery. If the Lakers are fortunate enough to land the top overall pick, the team will face a tough decision on who to take between LSU’s Ben Simmons and Duke’s Brandon Ingram.
Regardless of who winds up with the top pick, both players are set to cash in on endorsement deals as well, including the always important shoe contract. Apparently for Simmons, landing with the Lakers could mean a better shoe contract.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, Simmons and his representatives have a Lakers or bust mentality heading into the draft lottery:
Projected top pick Ben Simmons and his agent, Rich Paul, are now changing course and plan to wait until after the NBA’s draft lottery on Tuesday to decide with which shoe brand to sign, sources told The Vertical.
The thinking from Simmons’ camp is straightforward and simple: It’s the Los Angeles Lakers or bust.
Wojnarowski notes that Simmons hopes that landing with the Lakers will force Nike to match the offer given to them from Adidas:
The early strategy from Simmons and his Klutch Sports Group representation was believed to be a desire to sign a shoe deal before the draft lottery, but they aren’t satisfied with the Nike offer, sources said. They’re hoping that if the Lakers land the top overall pick – which they have a 19.9 percent chance of doing – Nike will move closer to matching Adidas’ offer.
Unfortunately for Simmons things are out of the Lakers hands as the ping pong balls will decide where the Lakers select. If he does land in Los Angeles, however, it will obviously be great for both Simmons and the Lakers.
There are some questions about whether or not Simmons fits with the Lakers core as he and Julius Randle do share some similar traits. That being said, the Lakers need talent more than anything else, and Simmons’ talent is unquestionable.