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Bulls: Derrick Rose admits to looking ahead to 2017 free agency

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Bulls: Derrick Rose admits to looking ahead to 2017 free agency

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.’’

[MORE: Derrick Rose proclaims his innocence in strongest statements to date]

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.’’

[MORE: Jimmy Butler doesn't believe the Bulls are his team now]

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.’’

Bulls take tunnel vision approach to Charlotte for opener vs. Hornets

Bulls take tunnel vision approach to Charlotte for opener vs. Hornets

The significance of his first opening night as head coach? Jim Boylen wasn’t biting.

Opening with four of five games against teams that didn’t make last season’s playoffs, including Wednesday night in Charlotte, N.C.? Boylen steered clear of that.

Addressing the goal stated on media day to make the playoffs? Lauri Markkanen added a qualifier.

“No promises,” he said. “But that’s the goal, for sure.”

The Bulls officially closed training camp Tuesday with a one-game-at-a-time and bunker mentality that would make any fan of clichés proud. They’re focused on the Hornets---and nothing of greater significance for now.

“We don’t talk about playoff team, non-playoff team. We’re talking about Charlotte,” Boylen said. “We’re going to play as hard as we can against Charlotte. That’s what we can control. And then we’ll move on.”

Tomas Satoransky, Zach LaVine, Otto Porter Jr., Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. are scheduled to start. Chandler Hutchison, who increased his on-court work but has yet to practice because of a hamstring issue, is the only injured player. Boylen said he’d announce his other inactive player besides Hutchison Wednesday.

“I just want to help the team,” Boylen said, elaborating on the significance of his first opening night as head coach. “As a head coach, sometimes you help them and sometimes you let them help themselves. I want to be there for them, support them. Hopefully we honor our principles. We do our basics better, the best we can, and see what happens.”

Boylen wouldn’t touch the subject. But even with all four games against last season’s non-playoff teams coming on the road, getting off to a fast start is essential.

Beyond the fact it will continue the good vibes that began with a widely praised offseason and through voluntary September workouts, the Bulls are relatively healthy. And the close to their schedule offers some brutal tests, so building a cushion early would bolster playoff talk.

“That’s what we’re trying to do---start off strong,” Markkanen said. “That sets the pace for the rest of the year. We’re going one game at a time, but it’s really important for us to get these.”

The Bulls visit Memphis to face a rebuilding Grizzlies team and No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant on Friday. They will navigate the two-game trip following a preseason in which they played at a faster pace than last season and averaged 39.4 3-pointers per game. That ranked ninth in the league after finishing 27th with just 25.9 attempts last season.

“I think we get a ton of open looks,” Markkanen said. “I’ve had good looks and my teammates have as well. We’re playing unselfish basketball, sharing the ball, making the extra pass. I think it’s going to help us.”

Despite all the optimism and addition of 12-year veteran Thad Young, the Bulls remain young, the league’s second-youngest team behind the Suns. Questions about depth and defensive efficiency are legitimate.

The tests start for real Wednesday.

“I’ve seen a group of guys that want to do the right things,” Boylen said. “It’s a high character group. It’s a willing group. Our care factor is high and I expect for us to care for each other, play for each other, sacrifice for each other. I think we’ll do that well.” 

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Bulls sign guard Max Strus to a two-way contract

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USA Today

Bulls sign guard Max Strus to a two-way contract

The Bulls announced today they have signed guard Max Strus to a two-way contract. Strus went undrafted during the 2019 NBA Draft before being signed by the Boston Celtics during preseason. He played in four preseason games for the Celtics, averaging 5.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.5 assists.

The Celtics waived Strus to make way with athletic wing Javonte Green on the final roster.

Max Strus is a Chicagoland native, growing in Hickory Hills and attending Amos Alonzo Stagg High School. Strus played college basketball at Lewis University in Romeoville before playing for the DePaul Blue Demons.

Standing at six-foot-five and 215 pounds, Strus was named to the All Big-East Second Team after averaging 20.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 35 games during his senior 2018-19 season. As a senior he played 29-straight games with double-figure scoring and set DePaul season records with 113 3-pointers and 311 3-point attempts. His career scoring average of 18.6 points per game with the fourth best in DePaul history.

We’re excited to have Strus back in Chicago and ready to see what he brings to the Bulls when their season starts tomorrow against Charlotte.

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