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NBA Rookies Sized Up for Shoe Contracts

The NBA Draft was three weeks ago and Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley still haven’t signed with a shoe company.

In the summer league games, Rose wore both Nike and Adidas. Beasley wore Jordans. But none of the brands have confirmed that either of them have signed.

We’ve been told that the money being offered is around $1 million a year for Rose and around $650,000 a year for Beasley. The big question is, now that high school star Brandon Jennings has bucked the NBA rule and signed a three-year deal with Roma, will he be the most highly paid rookie shoe endorser in 2008?

Jennings’ contract is a three-year deal, but has buyouts at every year. And he’s taken on shoe guru Sonny Vaccaro as his advisor. When asked what the interest is from the shoe companies, Vaccaro – who worked for Nike, Adidas and Reebok – said the financial prospects from a shoe company are “much better” than what they are for Rose or Beasley.

“There’s great interest in this phenomenal kid from Compton,” Vaccaro said. “He’s a trendsetter.”

Sources told CNBC that Jennings is more intriguing than Rose or Beasley because he has a more dynamic personality. Having him in Europe could be a nice global play, though Italy is known for having a relatively weak system in terms of distribution of its sporting goods.

Besides the usual players in the mix – Nike and Adidas – Under Armour is definitely in the game as well. The company is likely going to have a basketball shoe out in 2009, when Jennings could enter the NBA Draft.

Jennings has to report to Roma by Aug. 20, but Vaccaro said he looks for the shoe deal to be done by the first week of August.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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