A busy offseason begins for Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet.
MORE: VanVleet's free agency profile
Fresh off his fourth NBA season, the 26-year-old is not only one of the most coveted free agents by a number of teams, but he is also one of the most coveted sneaker free agents by a number of brands. While many speculate about VanVleet's NBA free agency, according to ESPN's Nick DePaula, his sneaker free agency has come to an end as he is set to sign an endorsement deal with Chinese brand Li-Ning.
Sources: Point guard Fred VanVleet is on the verge of signing a multi-year shoe deal with Li-Ning.- Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) November 12, 2020
He is expected to be among the most coveted NBA free agents next week. pic.twitter.com/h9qyCtnfKc
DePaula's report comes nearly a year to the date of last year's news that VanVleet had signed on to become the face of the AND1 brand. The deal, which wound up being for just one year, is set to expire in the coming days and VanVleet is poised to be the next representative of Li-Ning.
VanVleet joins a pretty impressive Li-Ning roster that features two other prolific guards in CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers and D'Angelo Russell of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Russell, who signed with the brand last season, wears models from Dwyane Wade's "Way of Wade" line. Wade is still the brand's most high-profile athlete, as his deal with Li-Ning continues even in retirement.
Early on in his career, VanVleet wore Nike sneakers before switching to Adidas and then AND1. Based on VanVleet's rising profile as a prominent player in the league and his mentality ahead of the upcoming free agency period, Li-Ning likely won him over with a bid that was hard to beat.
VanVleet enters the free agency period after averaging 17.6 points and 6.6 assists over 54 regular-season games with the Raptors in the 2019-20 season. In the playoffs, he upped his production to 19.6 points and 6.9 assists in 11 contests.
NBA free agency begins on Friday, Nov. 20 at 6 p.m. E.T. The moratorium period is lifted on Sunday, Nov. 22, meaning players can then officially sign with teams.
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