Cade Cunningham can't count on being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft on Thursday, but he will have a contract in hand before the Detroit Pistons are officially on the clock.
The Oklahoma State shooting guard and presumptive No. 1 pick in the draft signed an endorsement deal with Nike. ESPN reported Tuesday that Cunningham's shoe deal is the most lucrative in the 2021 draft class.
Detroit won the draft lottery and owns the No. 1 pick for the first time since 1970, when the Pistons selected Bob Lanier.
Cunningham decided to meet with only Detroit. The Houston Rockets, selecting No. 2, have reportedly attempted to land the top pick to draft Cunningham, but to no avail.
"I wanted to meet with the team that had the number one pick because I feel like I'm the number one pick," Cunningham said following the meeting in Detroit to meet with Pistons coaches and executives. "If the (Houston) Rockets get the number one pick, then maybe I'll meet with them if there's enough time."
Cunningham shot 40 percent from 3-point range as a 2020-21 freshman and is viewed by some teams as a scorer with "elite" defensive potential because of his 6-foot-8-inch wingspan.