In Dec. 2011, just months after leading the Chicago Bulls to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since Michael Jordan and becoming the youngest ever to be named NBA MVP, Derrick Rose signed a 5-year, $US94.3 million extension.
At the time, the contract was considered a no-brainer. But three years later, the contract has turned into a nightmare for the Bulls and it is not clear if it will ever get better.
Since the start of the 2012-13 season, Rose has made $US36.7 million and played in just 15 of the Bulls’ 193 games.
Of course, the big blows were the injuries, including the torn ACL in his left knee just four months after signing the extension and the torn meniscus in the right knee just 11 games into the 2013-14 season.
But with the third year of the contract approaching, it appeared that Rose had finally put the injuries behind when he declared that he was in his best shape ever while playing for Team USA at the FIBA World Cup this past summer.
But then this season started and so far Rose has played in just five of the Bulls’ 12 games.
When he was asked about missing so many games, Rose was surprisingly candid about how he is trying to protect his body for life after basketball.
Those comments angered a lot of fans and even former basketball players such as Charles Barkley who called Rose’s comments “disrespectful” to people who make a lot less and either work a lot harder or risk a lot more.
Even if it is OK for a player to be worried about how the sport they play will hinder them later, the Bulls now have a big problem.
Insurance covered about 40% of Rose’s salary while he was injured. But insurance isn’t helping the Bulls now and his $US18.9 million salary still takes up a huge chunk of the team’s salary cap space.
Even with some cap space coming down the road, the Bulls will have trouble luring superstar free agents who will almost certainly be scared away by Rose’s injury history and the size of his remaining contract which is $US41.4 million for the next two seasons.
That’s a lot of money for a guy that spends more time on the bench than on the court.
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