Bulls

Deserving Rose exudes class at contract extension presser

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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."

How the Bulls can land a max-salary free agent

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USA TODAY

How the Bulls can land a max-salary free agent

The Bulls will enter free agency with approximately $20 million in cap space. That’s far short of the amount needed to sign a max-salary player, but there is a path for the team to land a star — if one chooses to play in Chicago. With rumors out of Brooklyn that D’Angelo Russell would be on his way out if the Nets sign Kyrie Irving, coupled with the uncertain futures of both Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant, Bulls fans are wondering “what if.” I’ll let much wiser people debate if the Bulls should extend an offer to any of these players; I’ll outline how it could happen.

In terms of this discussion, it’s very important to note that not all free agents are eligible for the same max salary. The league has three tiers of max free agents, broken up by years of service. Players with 0-6 years of service are in one tier, 7-9 years in another, and 10+ years of service in the last.

Players in the more experienced tiers can get a much larger contract over players coming off their rookie contracts. The wonderful Larry Coon explains this in detail in his CBA FAQ. The exact 2019-20 salary cap will be announced at the end of the month. It’s currently projected at $109 million, and for this scenario, we use that number. Essentially, tier 1 players can get 25 percent of the cap, tier 2 30 percent and players with 10+ years of experience can get 35 percent of a team’s cap.

Russell would fall into the 0-6 years tier, earning him a first year salary (the one that matters in terms of cap space) of approximately $27.2 million. Klay Thompson has eight seasons of experience and is eligible for a first-year salary of about $32.7 million. His teammate Kevin Durant can sign a max deal starting at $38 million.

Step 1- Get medical waiver on Omer Asik’s $3 million cap hit.

The Bulls will find out by June 30 if the league approves their waiver request on Asik. The former Bulls big has a $3 million cap hit of guaranteed money on the books for the 2019-20 season. The team waived Asik back in October and it looks like his NBA career may be over after dealing with arthritis and Crohn’s Disease. The NBA is likely to approve the Bulls request, and they’ll get that money back in cap space for free agency.

Step 2- Waive and stretch Cristiano Felicio

The league allows teams to waive players and stretch their contracts over several years to lessen the immediate cap hit a team takes. Felicio is owed approximately $15.7 million over the next two seasons. The stretch provision means teams can spread out the cap hit of a waived player twice the years remaining on the deal, plus one. This translates to a cap hit of approximately $3.1 million over the next fives years instead of the amount he’s owed. This means the Bulls would gain an additional $5 million in cap space this summer.

Accomplishing steps 1 and 2 will clear enough cap space for the Bulls to sign a 0-6 year free agent, so if Russell wants to play for the Bulls and the front office feels he’d be a good fit, it would only take these two steps to sign him. It gets more complicated for the more experienced free agents.

Step 3- Trade Kris Dunn for a 2nd round pick.

Dunn is owed $5.3 million for the 2019-20 season. Trading him for a second round pick would net the Bulls a cap saving of $4.4 million. The reason the Bulls don’t get to keep the full amount is that teams have to account for a roster spot against the cap when they go below 12 players. Trading Dunn would get them into the 7-9 years tier and allow them to sign Klay Thompson (or any of the other free agents at that tier).

Step 4A- Trade out of the first round of the 2019 draft

Here is where it gets a lot more difficult for the Bulls if they want to sign a 10+ year free agent. They have to clear about $5 million more in cap space. Let’s safely assume they aren’t going to trade Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen or Wendell Carter for pennies on the dollar just to clear cap space. Otto Porter’s contract makes him a very unlikely trade candidate as well. Trading the No. 7 pick for a future first nets them another $4.4 million, close enough to get to that max slot with other small moves.

The major flaw with this is the draft is June 20 and free agency starts 10 days later. You’re not going to get a commitment from any superstar worth this amount until June 30, so essentially this option is off the table.

Step 4B- Trade Denzel Valentine and Chandler Hutchison for second round picks

This option is a lot more likely if the Bulls can sign a superstar in the 10+ years tier. Hutchison showed promise in his rookie season, and despite missing all of last season, Valentine should be able to get you something (especially if packaged with Hutchison). I doubt the team wants to punt on Hutchison after one season, but they'd have to, if this was the only thing in the way of signing a franchise changing star.

If you want to dream for the Bulls, our friends at NBC Sports Boston put together a list of the top free agents available. The likelihood is that the Bulls will use their cap space to sign a few veteran free agents to give them some much needed depth, but should they dream big, there is a path to be in play for a star.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

Bulls not a part of Anthony Davis-to-the-Lakers trade, but it could have an effect on the draft

Bulls not a part of Anthony Davis-to-the-Lakers trade, but it could have an effect on the draft

Farewell, Lonzo Ball-to-the-Bulls rumors.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Saturday evening that the Los Angeles Lakers have finally acquired Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans, and the deal doesn't include a third team.

In exchange for Davis, a six-time All-Star about to enter his prime, the Pelicans recieved Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and three first round picks, including the No. 4 pick in next week's NBA Draft.

There was some speculation - also reported by Woj - that a third team would need to get involved in order to satisfy what Pelicans GM David Griffin was looking for in a package for Davis.

Though the Bulls were never directly connected in reports as a potential third team, it made sense considering they own the No. 7 pick and have a need at point guard.

There was also some speculation - though, again, never concrete news or reports - that Zach LaVine could have been an option in a deal, with the Bulls acquiring the No. 4 pick.

Alas, the Bulls aren't part of the deal. But it still may have an effect on them.

The Pelicans now own the Nos. 1 and 4 picks in next week's draft. They're obviously going to take Duke forward Zion Williamson with the first pick but now have options at No. 4. Whereas the Lakers had been linked to Vanderbilt poing guard Darius Garland, the Pelicans really don't have a need there with Ball and Jrue Holiday in the backcourt.

That, in theory, could bump Garland down to No. 6 and the Phoenix Suns, which would then free up the Bulls to take North Carolina's Coby White at No. 7.

Wojnarowski also reported that teams are still inquiring about the No. 4 pick from the Pelicans. It's unlikely the Bulls would depart with LaVine though maybe they could put together some sort of package to move up from No. 7.

What's more likely is the Bulls keep their assets intact in such a weak draft class and move forward with the best player available on the board at No. 7.

But it's officially Woj Bomb season, so buckle up. As is the case every NBA offseason, anything can and will happen.