Bulls

Deserving Rose exudes class at contract extension presser

618920.png

Deserving Rose exudes class at contract extension presser

As with virtually every event surrounding Derrick Rose, Wednesday's press conference announcing his five-year, 94-million maximum contract extension was a genuine moment.

"I don't even know how much I make right now, to tell you the truth," deadpanned Rose. "I just know I get paid, I watch my accounts, they're growing and I'm happy."

Despite that moment of levity -- another occurred when the facial expression of Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, alongside Rose at the podium, crinkled up when his point guard was asked about taking it easy during the shortened season -- the 23-year-old's remarks were mostly of the heart-warming variety.

Similar to the speech he made when he was presented with the league's MVP award last season, Rose involved his family -- his mother, Brenda, and three brothers, Reggie, Dwayne and Allan, who were all in attendance, along with teammates Luol Deng and Brian Scalabrine, and his agent, former Bulls guard B.J. Armstrong -- when thanking a laundry list of people within his support system.

"Wow," he began. "I want to thank the city of Chicago for just sticking behind me, through the good and the bad...I know this: I'm tremendously blessed and I don't take anything for granted, and I appreciate everyone.

"I think I can finally say this now," Rose continued. "Mom, we finally made it."

Some would argue that he made it before receiving the extension, the product of the "Derrick Rose rule," a provision in the new collective bargaining agreement that allows players on their rookie-scale contracts to be paid more based on reaching certain incentives, such as being named the youngest MVP in the history of the NBA.

"I put my goals very high. It might sound crazy sometimes, when I say the things that I say or the goals that I have, but it's just for me to push myself. As a player, you never want to go out there and not give it your all, and that's what I try to do almost every night, just go hard and try to excite people," he explained. "Money, I don't think it's going to change me. If anything, it would have changed me by now, I think. Right now, with the salary that I'm getting, I'm able to get whatever I want. I don't spend that much, I'm humble, I take care of others and it has a lot to do with my mom, making sure that I'm talking to her all the time -- my brothers all the time -- and they're always talking to me, telling me to stay level-headed and just make sure that I provide for other people."

Bulls general manager Gar Forman testified to Rose's humility.

"Probably the greatest asset about Derrick Rose is his loyalty, and Derrick has been very committed to his teammates, to this organization and his hometown of Chicago," he said. "I really can't think of anyone who's more deserving of this than Derrick Rose...we are so proud of everything that he's accomplished and we're just thrilled that we'll be able to watch Derrick play in a Chicago Bulls uniform for many years to come, as he and his teammates continue to grow and he leads us to what eventually we hope will be our ultimate goal of bringing a NBA championship back to Chicago."

Added Thibodeau: "Well, I don't think you can measure him now; you have to wait until his career is over, but what we've seen thus far is he embodies all the characteristics that you look for in a championship player and it's a lot more than just the talent. The talent is the obvious part. Then, when you look at his will to win, his basketball I.Q., unselfishness, his humility, I think hose are the things you can build a championship-caliber team around and the way he works each and every day sets the tone for our team.

"I wish it was a 10-year contract."

Rose himself said he doesn't feel more pressure because of the contract. In fact, it appears that he's only further motivated.

"When we're practicing, I know my teammates hear me saying things like, 'Championship,' and just trying to push us, yelling it, and that's just because I really want one. I think that with the guys that we have, we really have a chance to go out there and play for it," the two-time All-Star said. "Of course, everybody's goal, if you're trying to play this game, you want to win a championship, but who's going to put forth the effort? Who's going to go into the gym every day and work, even if you're tired? All those little things add up, especially for your team."

It seems so storybook, the local product playing for his hometown team, with a real shot at bringing home a title. One precocious MVP has already eschewed the burden of doing that, while other superstars are opting to leave the teams they were drafted by for so-called greener pastures by the day. Rose, however, is steadfast in his commitment to his team. And city.

"I don't think I'll leave Chicago, unless they trade me or something," he said, again eliciting laughter from the media, team employees and well-wishers on hand. "I would want to finish my career here."

"Everybody's different. To each his own, so they handled it their own way. I don't have a say-so about it," the top pick in the 2008 NBA Draft added about what stars such as Dwight Howard are experiencing. "I'm just happy that we got things done over here and I'm happy to be a Bull."

Chimed in Forman: "Most of these players of Derrick's stature that are signing contracts, in most cases, there's either a player option or an ETO (early-termination option) or something within those, and Derrick absolutely didn't want that. He wanted a full commitment with the Chicago Bulls and to stay here in Chicago, and to us, that's really special."

At the end of the press conference, Rose expressed what fans, Chicagoans and certainly the Bulls organization have felt about the first four years of his professional career.

"It's been perfect," he concluded, managing to do, as he has a knack for on the court, the right thing at the right time. "I couldn't ask for anything better."

Anthony Davis could be the lone torch-bearer for Chicago at All-Star weekend in 2020, and object of recruitment

anthony_davis.jpg
AP

Anthony Davis could be the lone torch-bearer for Chicago at All-Star weekend in 2020, and object of recruitment

There were no Lakers or Clippers in the 2018 All-Star Game, but Los Angeles was well-represented with plenty of homegrown talent, plenty of historians with Los Angeles ties and all the pageantry L.A. can provide.

Russell Westbrook, Paul George and James Harden are among the All-Stars who came home to put on the biggest show of entertainment the league has to offer, and the new format featuring captains LeBron James and Stephen Curry produced one of the most competitive finishes in recent All-Star history as the spectacle wasn’t lost on DeRozan, who plays for the conference-leading Toronto Raptors.

“It was a dream come true,” DeRozan said. “I’ll forever be a part of this, and to come out and be a starter in my hometown, it was a dream come true.”

With Chicago hosting the event in 2020, one wonders if the city or the Bulls will be as represented.

“What better time to do it than in Chicago?” Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen said about his aspirations of being an All-Star sooner rather than later.

New Orleans’ Anthony Davis, to this point, is the only Chicagoan carrying the torch as an All-Star. For years, Chicago could claim their homegrown talent rivaled the likes of Los Angeles and New York, the self-proclaimed “Mecca”.

But now they’ve fallen behind in the way of star power, as Derrick Rose has gone from MVP to one of the biggest “what if” stories in modern-day sports. Jabari Parker was expected to be next in line but his future as a star is murky due to the same dreaded injury bug.

“I didn’t know that. But there’s a lot of great players (from Chicago),” Davis said Saturday during media availability. “Jabari is just coming back, Derrick is going through what he’s going through. That’s fine. D-Wade is getting older. We have a lot of great guys. Guys have been hurt, in D-Wade’s case he’s just getting up there in age now (laughs).”

Davis is arguably the league’s most versatile big man, keeping the New Orleans Pelicans afloat while DeMarcus Cousins is out with an Achilles injury. He’s had to watch the likes of George deal with free agent questions about the prospect of coming home to L.A., even after he was traded from Indiana to Oklahoma City in the offseason.

It still hasn’t stopped the chants from Lakers fans, panting after George in the hope he’ll be a savior of sorts. And even though his contract isn’t up for another few seasons, teams are lining up in the hope they can acquire him through free agency or trade.

It could very well be him getting the chants when the All-Star party comes to Chicago and he could be joined by the likes of Markkanen and Zach LaVine in the big game.

LaVine was in Los Angeles for the weekend and Markkanen opened eyes around the league with his showing in the rising stars game as well as the skills challenge.

Davis could wind up being the object of everyone’s affection and could find himself being recruited by the likes of LaVine.

Even though 2021 is a long way away, a guy can dream, right?

“I mean, I’m cool with a lot of dudes in the NBA. I feel like I’m a likeable guy,” LaVine told NBCSportsChicago.com about recruiting star players to the Bulls franchise. “I can talk about situations like that, it would be my first time being put in a position. It would be a little bit different but I think I can handle it.”

LaVine has his own contract situation to take care of this summer, being a restricted free agent but understands the Bulls’ salary cap position and their long-term goals.

“Yeah I think once the offseason comes and everybody settles down, and I’m comfortable, and I know the position I’ll be in,” LaVine said to NBCSportsChicago.com.

“I think we’ll start having those conversations because we want to get the franchise back to where it was, on that high plateau. That’s what it’s supposed to be.”

“I’m trying to solidify myself in the league to a certain degree. Once you start reaching those points you can talk to anybody to get to where you want to get to.”

LaVine attended several events over the weekend and shared the same space as several All-Stars in non-media settings. It’s easy to see why he would think he could have that affect with his peers.

Being careful about the rules on tampering, he said about a potential sit-down with Davis, “I would bring some Harold’s chicken to the meeting and we’ll be all good.”

Lauri Markkanen nearly 'Finnishes' in Skills Challenge against former Bull Spencer Dinwiddie

2-18_markkanen_usat.jpg
USA TODAY

Lauri Markkanen nearly 'Finnishes' in Skills Challenge against former Bull Spencer Dinwiddie

Los Angeles—Lauri Markkanen called himself “The Finnisher” when asked what the movie of his life would be called.

Apparently, that moniker didn’t apply to the All-Star Skills challenge as he took down the best big men but couldn’t close against a former Bull, Spencer Dinwiddie, in the final.

The contest highlights players’ ability to dribble around cones shaped like NBA logos, throwing a chest pass into a net while having to complete a layup and then 3-pointer before their opponent does.

Markkanen took down Detroit’s Andre Drummond and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid before facing off with Dinwiddie. He held a pose after hitting a triple to beat the uber confident Embiid, in what will likely be used as a memorable gif following the weekend.

His confidence doesn’t come across as blatantly as Embiid’s, but that snapshot shows he’s no humble star in the making. He didn’t even practice for the contest, by his own admission.

“I heard some of the guys did,” Markkanen said. “I didn’t do much, just before the competition, I did a little warm-up.”

Missing on the first pass attempt into the circular net in the final, it gave Dinwiddie the advantage he wouldn’t relinquish, hitting on his second 3-point attempt before Markkanen could make it downcourt to contest.

“It’s a lot harder than I’ve seen,” Markkanen said. “I thought it was gonna be super easy but it was kind of tough. Maybe I need to hold my follow through (on the pass).”

“I saw he missed (the first shot) and I started going. I thought he would’ve missed it too. I think I would’ve gotten it on the third shot.”

Being one of the multi-dimensional big men in today’s game who can be adept on the perimeter as well as the interior, it almost seems like the contest was made for Markkanen. Although he doesn’t do much handling in Fred Hoiberg’s offense, it’s clearly a skill he will develop as time goes on.

The last two winners of the skills challenge were Karl-Anthony Towns and Kristaps Porzingis, and Markkanen was well aware of the recent trend.

“The last two years the bigs have won,” Markkanen said. “I’m kind of pissed that I couldn’t keep the streak going after (those two). I think there’s a lot of guys who can do that now, it’s why they changed the format to bigs versus smalls.”

For Dinwiddie, who was discarded by the Bulls last season after a promising start in the preseason so they could pick up R.J. Hunter, he’s taken advantage of an opportunity with Brooklyn.

“I think for Chicago it was just another series of unfortunate events,” he said. “They were in win-now mode. I was an unproven guard on a non-guaranteed contract and they felt Michael Carter-Williams gave them a better shot to win.”