Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma is now signed to a five-year, $20-million Puma basketball deal. The deal was first reported by NBA insider Shams Charania. Later, Nick DePaula, ESPN’s sneaker head, confirmed the details of the deal. He also revealed some of the incentives in the deal, which includes a clause that could increase the value up to $35 million.
Kuzma will have full creative control over future collections. That control was ultimately the deciding factor in choosing Puma over Nike.
“The No. 1 thing I was trying to look for was a little bit more control, a little bit more freedom to do certain things,” Kuzma told ESPN. “Not to be restricted from an idea standpoint.”
Kuzma’s previous sneaker deal with Nike was a short two-year deal that paid him $25,000 per year. In those two years, Kuzma made First Team NBA All Rookie and established himself as a star in the second largest market in the United States. He had well outgrown his previous deal.
Kuzma took meetings with Nike during USA Basketball scrimmage in Las Vegas, but the sides could not agree on terms and talks fell apart. Following negotiations with Nike, Kuzma traveled to Boston to hear Puma’s final pitch and presentation.
Kuzma has admitted he is disappointed about not being able to wear Kobe’s signature shoe anymore, but he is hoping to start his own legacy in the sneaker business. Kuz looks at joining Puma as an opportunity elevate his profile on the court while developing lifestyle products and working with fashion designers from all over.
Kuzma’s first project is expected to be a tribute to the late Nipsey Hussle, who was also a member of the Puma team.
“I wanted to go to Puma, not only for everything that I’ve got going on, but to do some things within this community like Nip did,” said Kuzma.