Brand Appeal: Cris Carter questions what role Kawhi Leonard’s shoe deal is playing in Spurs drama

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Though Kawhi Leonard has been cleared to play by San Antonio's medical staff, Gregg Popovich says he'd be 'surprised' if his star, marquis player will return this season. In terms of attracting free agents and calculating the appeal of his brand, Cris Carter questions what role Kawhi's shoe deal is playing in Spurs drama.

- So now, looking when Tony Parker's only got a little bit of basketball, Ginobili's only got a little bit of basketball. The only piece they can build around is Kawhi, that potentially, their top two players have wanted out of San Antonio the last two years. I believe that the location of San Antonio, and the lack of free agents who want to come to San Antonio, I believe that's had an effect on Kawhi. And also from a branding standpoint.

Say, well branding Kawhi, he a quiet guy. But when you have the top echelon making $20 and $30 million from a shoe deal standpoint, and he's with brand Jordan, and they say he's a marquee guy, but he's only making $2 million. He doesn't get the visibility that Russ gets. He doesn't get the economics that Russ gets. Harden, all these guys.

- All the top players in the league. Like that's something people-- fans, I think, overestimate how much the shoe deal is for everyone but a select few. Like, Kawhi's shoe-- every other top-6 guy, LeBron, KD, Russ, Hard, and Steph are over $25 million a year in shoe marketing.

- Right, and also, a feature. Either they're featured as a shoe, or they're the feature part of the company. And him, Well as long as they have Russ and Jordan brand, Kawhi will always be second, third, or fourth from a priority standpoint.