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Who Will Blaze The Trail?

I have been back in the United States for only a day, most of which has been spent catching up on sleep and working on a few jobs, and already I am exhausted of hearing about who the Portland Trailblazers will select with the 1st overall pick. With that being said, Chris still did an excellent job covering the story in a succinct way [Portland number 1].

Everyone is wondering whether Portland needs another big man and should select who many believe is the best player (Greg Oden) or select based on need and also get an amazing athlete (Kevin Durant). Could there be more to it than just playing ability, though?

What about marketability and endorsements? A marketing agent would definitely rather have Durant as a client, but would a team also benefit by having a more fan-appreciative personality that will be in more commercials? Would it bring more people to games while that team is slumping?

As of right now, Nike and Adidas are in a bidding war over the rights to Kevin Durant while Jim Gatto, NBA sports marketing manager for Adidas, has been quoted as saying, ” we feel Durant has more to offer [than Oden].” Adidas has been much less aggressive than Nike in its pursuit to sign Greg Oden [Big sellers don’t have to fill big shoes].

The Blazers cannot lose with either pick, but could they possibly gain in non-conventional ways based on the selection that is made?

-Darren Heitner

p.s. – Paul D.’s first post is below. Leave some feedback on whether you like the new column or not.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

10 replies on “Who Will Blaze The Trail?”

Oden will be the pick, Zach Randolph will be dealt for a 3. Aldridge will stay, he can easily adapt as a 4. And Durant’s shoe deal is looking to come in around $40-45 million. I’m sure Nike would love to have Durant in Portland, remember the extra kick they added to Telfair’s shoe deal for him being in Portland. Nike will take up a ton of corporate seats if they sign the star Portland drafts.

The biggest question is what Durant going to the Sonics does for Seattle. Do they get that new arena now, or are they still on the move within the next 2 years? I know Seattle was on the phone trying to get commitments for season tickets right after the lottery was held. Durant should bring in some money, but will Seattle and the tax players shell out the money for a new arena? If not, hello Oklahoma or Las Vegas.

It will be interesting to see who goes after the top two picks. The Hawks really hold the key to this draft. Whoever they pick will shape the rest of the draft board and most possible trades it looks like.

An interesting theory… And yes, Durant is eminently more marketable. Still, there’s a lot to be said for upping the ante with taking the Big Man.
Durant will be a great player, but I don’t think he’s the key to winning titles – he may, but he’ll need more stuff around him than other players. Oden brings a (probable) Championship calibre center to the team. Portland’ll take him, and not look back.

I wouldn’t necessarily say that Durant is for sure more marketable. I think success in the first few years of their careers will have a lot to do with how they do outside of basketball. I can’t believe that if Oden comes in right away and turns the Blazers into a contender and helps them past the first couple of rounds of the playoffs while Durant goes to Seattle plays well but the team only improves to .500 or so that Oden wouldn’t become more marketable than Durant. Either way both should be great players for a long time, I don’t see how the Blazers can pass up on Oden (even though I like Durant more) but it’s tough to pass up on a big man of his level. Finally if the Hawks don’t pick a PG they are/will continue to be one of the worst franchises in all of sports. I don’t really know how many more years they think they can go with Speedy Claxton pushing the point before Billy Knight gets fired.

I forgot to mention an example of what I was trying to say in my last post that was to look at the draft with Lebron, Melo, and D-Wade. I believe because of D-Wade’s early success winning a championship he has quickly surpassed Melo in terms of marketability but at the time of the draft no one would have said D-Wade was more marketable.

I think a big difference in your D-Wade example is that D-Wade (while being a high draft choice) was not seen as being on the same playing level as LeBron and Melo. In the present case, many disagree as to who is a better player: Oden or Durant.

D-Wade may have been a personality that corporations liked, but his perceived playing ability may have delayed the endorsements that he is now starting to see.

Good point Darren we’ll see how it all plays out. Either way I think we are going to watch two of the best players we’ve seen in a while who should both make a ton of money both in basketball and in the endorsement world. I voted for you and you are dominating, can you vote more than once in a day?

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