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5 Sneaker Free Agents PUMA Should Target

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PUMA announced earlier this year that they were making a return to the basketball sneaker world for the first time in 20 years. PUMA made a splash right out of the gate this year by signing four first round picks from the 2018 NBA Draft. PUMA managed to snag #1 overall pick Deandre Ayton as well as Marvin Bagley III, Michael Porter Jr., and Zhaire Smith. They continued their resurgence after signing all-star DeMarcus Cousins just this past week. PUMA has seemed to have underwent a complete brand overhaul. In June, PUMA announced that rap legend and media mogul Jay-Z would become the creative director of PUMA Basketball Operations. With the clout boost of Jay-Z, Boogie Cousins and this years’ NBA Draft signings, PUMA is looking to give Nike, Adidas and Under Armour a run for their money. However, there are still some notable sneaker free agents who PUMA should absolutely have on their radar.

5. Isaiah Thomas

Photo courtesy of clutchpoints.com

Isaiah Thomas’s 2018 has been tumultuous to say the least. The former All-Star and MVP candidate had a rough season this past year after being dealt from the Cavaliers to the Lakers, where he averaged 15.6 points, 5.0 assists, and 0.4 steals. Thomas would eventually sign with the Denver Nuggets for a one-year, $2 million deal on July 13th. Thomas, previously with Nike, may have a chance to prove his doubters wrong this season and would be a great comeback story for the 5’9 point guard.

4. Gordon Hayward

Photo courtesy of ESPN

Gordon Hayward’s tenure in Boston couldn’t have started any worse. The 28-year-old small forward suffered a gruesome injury during the first game of last season, where he dislocated his ankle and fractured his left tibia. Hayward is expected to be ready for the Celtics season opener and will quickly move into the C’s starting 5, making them the perennial Eastern Conference favorites.

3. Andrew Wiggins

Photo courtesy of SlamOnline.com

Anyone who knows me knows just how frustrated I am with Andrew Wiggins. The 23 year-old small forward is chock full of potential but has been a tad underwhelming. Wiggins was wildly regarded as the 2nd coming of LeBron James when he was drafted first overall in 2014. The Timberwolves seem to be stuck in a rut, along with a Jimmy Butler situation that’s volatile to say the least. Maybe this will be the year that Wiggins finally takes that step forward and becomes a dynamic duo with big man Karl-Anthony Towns.

2. Kawhi Leonard

Photo courtesy of dailyhive.com

Arguably the biggest free agent this upcoming season, Kawhi Leonard should field offers from all major shoe companies as he parts with Jordan Brand. The new look Raptors will certainly be must see TV when the duo of Leonard and Kyle Lowry take the court this upcoming season. Leonard may not be the most flashy guy out there (and might have a computer generated laugh), but Leonard, when healthy, is without a shadow of a doubt a top three two-way player in the association. The market size of Toronto and their loyal fanbase will definitely drive shoe sales if PUMA were to sign him.

1. Joel Embiid

Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

OK, I may be a tad bias- but Joel Embiid is THE number one sneaker free agent. The dynamic big man simply oozes personality on and off the court, making him an extremely marketable athlete. Embiid has been signed with Adidas since he was first drafted by the Sixers in 2014. Embiid is one of the most promising up and coming stars in the NBA, playing alongside rookie of the year Ben Simmons will only make Embiid shine that much brighter. Whether Embiid’s trashing fellow big men on the court, or roasting Mo Bamba on IG, Embiid should be PUMA’s #1 target priority.

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About Darrien Null

Hometown: Strasburg, PA. Contributor for Sixers Lead.

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