The influx of contract money that funneled through the NBA this summer caught the attention of a few players around the league.
Two-time All-Star John Wall of the Washington Wizards made note of Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson receiving an $80 million deal despite just becoming a full-time starter since being traded to Detroit at the trade deadline last season.
Count Derrick Rose among those looking forward to his contract being up so he can reap the financial benefits, as it seemed like it was a quiet motivating factor with his summer training.
“This whole summer I had tunnel vision. My mindset was just making sure that I was working out every day, and spending as much time as possible with my son,” Rose said. “And focusing on those two things. Making sure my family is financially stable, as far as seeing all the money that they’re passing out in this league. Just telling the truth. Just knowing that my day will be coming up soon, and it’s not for me. It’s for P.J. (his son) and his future, so that’s what I’m thinking about now.’’
Rose is a full two years away from free agency (after the 2016-17 season), as he’s the inspiration behind a rule that was put in the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement for players of his ilk. The “Derrick Rose Rule” allows a team to pay a player who finishes his rookie contract to make 30 percent of the salary cap as opposed to 25 percent if he crosses performance thresholds set by the league.
When asked if he was talking about being a Bull or taking his talents elsewhere, Rose clarified say saying “Here, here, it’s here.”
“But when you talk about that much money the only thing you can do is prepare for it. I’m trying to prepare, not only myself, but my family. And I’m doing this all for my son. Like I said, I’m thinking about his future. Even though we’re alright, we’re comfortable, when you talk about that x-amount of dollars, I think it raises everyone’s eyebrows, so there’s nothing wrong with being over-prepared.’’
To hear Rose speak about “his day coming” was a bit surprising at Media Day, considering he wasn’t asked about anything regarding a future contract but it was clearly on Rose’s mind.
Rose is still the highest-paid Bull for this coming season and his $20.09 million salary ranks ninth in the NBA, as the Bulls are seventh in payroll at $87.3 million in committed salary. Jimmy Butler has the longest deal considering he just signed a max contract this summer and Rose is looking ahead.
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“I’m preparing for it,” he said.
An optimist can choose to look at Rose looking ahead as a sign of confidence that he can do something he hasn’t been able to do since his MVP season—stay upright and on the floor. He finished the Bulls playoff run in uniform instead of in a suit, but has to wrestle with the fact he’s missed more games than he’s played since the start of the 2011-12 season.
Of a possible 312 games, Rose has played in 100, which includes missing the entire 2012-13 season with his first torn ACL.
He finished the 2015 playoffs showing he can still produce at a high level, but this season will prove if he can do it consistently. Being able to train in Los Angeles all summer as opposed to rehabbing is likely a key to his confidence, which was likely buoyed by Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook complimenting Rose’s workouts at the USA Basketball camp this summer.
“It felt good. It felt good. Worked out from like, get up in the morning, work out from like 11 to 1 o’clock, just like all track work,” Rose said. “You know just getting back into a routine, which is something I haven’t done in three or four years. I had the opportunity to do it all over again, or start doing it again, and it felt good.’’
But has he done enough modifications to his game due to physical limitations to put him back in the upper echelon of guards, let alone silence the growing critics who believe he’ll never have that type of affect on the game again, at least not enough to talk about future contracts 21 months in advance?
“I can’t get caught up into that. I know I’m great,” Rose said. “There’s a lot of people that don’t know I’m great, that’s the thing. But it’s cool. I know I can hoop.
“You can put me anywhere and I know how to play the game of basketball. I can’t get mad at people for how they criticize my game and the way that I play, or the way that I used to play. I know I’m great, and that’s it.’’