Projected No. 2 NBA draft pick Ja Morant inks deal with Nike

The biggest shoe deal of this year’s NBA draft process still hasn’t dropped, but Nike just scored a big win with the presumptive No. 2 pick.

Former Murray State point guard Ja Morant announced through Instagram on Monday that he had agreed to an endorsement deal with Nike. According to ESPN, the deal was agreed on in advance of the draft lottery.

Morant is projected to hear his name called by the Memphis Grizzlies with the second overall pick of the NBA draft this year, the result of an incredible sophomore year at Murray State in which the 19-year-old led the NCAA in assists.

In 33 games with the Racers, Morant averaged 24.5 points on 49.9 percent field goal shooting with 10.0 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game. He capped off his two-year college career with a breakout 17-point, 16-assist, 12-rebound triple-double to lead Murray State to a big first-round upset over Marquette.

Now expected to start for the Grizzlies next year, Morant will certainly be a name to watch in the Rookie of the Year race, assist leaderboards and beyond. Of course, there’s another name Nike is likely more concerned about.

How is the Zion Williamson race shaping up?

The NBA draft’s presumed No. 1 pick, Zion Williamson, remains a free agent on the shoe market, and not for a lack of suitors.

The bidding war for Williamson is expected to reach a level not seen since Kevin Durant and LeBron James in the pre-draft process, for obvious reasons. Williamson recently wrapped a Duke season in which he became one of three players to ever win the Wooden Award as a freshman, and he did it with viral dunk after viral dunk.

Like with any big NBA prospect, Nike is expected to be in the running for Williamson. Also likely to be in the mix is Adidas, as Williamson spent his high school years playing on the Adidas circuit and has seemed to hold an affinity for the brand. Of course, money is likely what will get it done in this race, and whoever wants Williamson is going to need a lot of it.

Murray State's Ja Morant (12) during the first half of a second round men's college basketball game in the NCAA tournament, Saturday, March 23, 2019, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Only Zion Williamson is expected to surpass Ja Morant in the shoe deal race. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

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