The Chicago Bulls have stood by Derrick Rose. They made him the franchise star immediately after drafting him in 2008. They were patient with his return from the devastating knee injury in 2012, even when his return dragged on past expected dates. They were patient with him when he had the meniscus setback. They've kept him as their featured star even with the rise of Jimmy Butler.
However, this is a business, and just as teams will always look out for what's best for them, so too do the players have to keep their best interests in mind. Apparently, Rose feels that he's underpaid, since he spoke pretty openly about the fact that he's going to be chasing the money in free agency. From CBS Chicago:
The sequence began when Rose was asked how much a sexual assault civil lawsuit filed against him in California by an ex-girlfriend weighed on him and affected his preparation for the new season.
“I’ve been moved on,” Rose said. “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 (P.J.). 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. and his future, so that’s what I’m thinking about right now.’“I’m preparing for it.’’
Asked a follow-up question later, Rose emphasized that he wants his future to be in Chicago but indicated his mind is on getting his fair share of cash in a changing financial landscape in which a massive influx of TV money is leading to rising player salaries.
“Here, it’s here,” Rose said of where he wants to play. “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 all right, 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.’’
Rose is set to make $20 million in 2015-16 and over $21 million the following season before entering free agency. By then he'll be turning 29. He has not played more than 60 games in a season since he won the 2011 MVP. Rose is looking after his own financial interests, and while it won't play well with fans, in a vacuum it's reasonable and understandable. This game gets as much as it can from you while you're still valuable and then gives very little back once that point has passed.
Still, Rose got so much money in his last contract that the CBA literally has a rule designed around his name to provide players with extra money. Rose is currently the ninth highest-paid player in the NBA.
Rose wasn't the same last year. Maybe another year removed from all the problems (outside of his problem in the second half of last year that shelved him for several weeks) will bring him closer to the MVP player that was so phenomenal. If it doesn't, however, his day might not bring him the kind of reward he's thinking it will. Either way, if you believe that you can't fault a player for being honest with the media, you can't view Rose's comments in a negative light.
Rose was definitely sending a message, however.