by Abe Schwadron / @abe_squad

Shelling out a pretty penny to cop a fresh pair of sneakers is nothing new. Exclusive, in-demand kicks command hundreds of dollars on a consistent basis. But usually the highest price tags are reserved for retro or custom kicks. Nike wants to add performance basketball sneakers to that list, making plans to release an on-court hoops line with a staggering $200-plus sticker price. Details are still flimsy, but the latest addition to the collection (scheduled for next summer) is the Kobe VII “Elite.” More, via CounterKicks:

Nike Basketball is coming for your bank account in 2012. We’ve dropped previews in recent weeks on the $200 Nike Zoom Hyperdunk Elite and the new benchmark $250 priced Nike LeBron 9 PS Elite, both expanding Swoosh basketball introductory price points to new territory. We can now confirm Kobe Bryant’s seventh signature shoe will join the $200 pack in the form of the Nike Zoom Kobe VII Elite.

Nike’s “Elite” series is timed for product unveilings during the NBA Playoffs, so the marketing heads in Beaverton are likely hoping there’s something of a season to be played. If not, we’d expect advertising to shift to pure high-end performance story and potential Olympics 2012 buzz and roll out.

Athletic Propulsion Labs made waves with a high-performance basketball shoe listed at $300 in 2010, but has since dropped its retail price to $195 (and been banned from use in the NBA). Nike’s “Elite” line would top that figure, presumably without APL’s guarantee of an “instant increase in vertical leap to anyone playing basketball.”

Expect to see two Kobe Elite colorways: Black/Dark Grey/Metallic Gold and White/Black/Neutral Grey/Metallic Gold.

For a more thorough analysis of what Nike’s new pricing points mean, hit CounterKicks.