It’s been obstacle on top of obstacle for Derrick Rose since tearing his ACL during the 2012 postseason. However, this time around, his newest obstacle could have been avoided with a better choice of words.
Five years ago at the Chicago Bulls media day, Derrick Rose made headlines by asking the media members in attendance, “Why can’t I be the MVP of the league?” Rose would go on to lead the Bulls to 62 wins, the top seed in the Eastern Conference, and would become the youngest NBA MVP in history at age 22.
On Monday afternoon in Chicago, Derrick Rose made headlines once more at media day, but for all the wrong reasons. Rose’s comments weren’t about the upcoming season or even the postseason.
During his time in front of the media, Rose sparked a discussion about his free agency after the 2016-17 season. How Rose got to that intriguing and befuddling topic was an adventure in itself.
In late August, TMZ reported that Derrick Rose was the subject of civil suit involving an anonymous female, who alleged that Rose and a few of his associates “gang-raped” her. For the bulk of the day, questions were flying in from all different directions about Rose’s situation and would he be forced to miss time due to the suit.
Everyone from Bulls general manager Gar Forman to Taj Gibson was asked about Rose’s legal situation, and while all backed Rose and mentioned how important he is to the team, Rose stood out on his own during Monday’s media day.
When Rose was asked about if the accusations off the court was affecting his everyday life, Rose responded with:
“I’ve been moved on [from the lawsuit],” 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. And focusing on those two things.”
This is fine. He’s just like any other athlete with a family to support. The first part of Rose’s soundbite to this question was just like any other who would be in his scenario.
But, the second portion of what Rose said is where things got … interesting.
“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 [two-year-old son] P.J. and his future, so that’s what I’m thinking about now.”
Even still, this part of the answer isn’t that bad either. Anybody who casually follows the NBA could see the insane amount of money of thrown around. The salary cap will continue to rise thanks to the new television deals for the NBA, so Rose isn’t in the wrong about mentioning it. Where it’s hard to defend him is the “so that’s what I’m thinking about now” part, is where things head south.
“[I want to be] here,” Rose said. “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.”
Once again, Rose starts off great. Nobody is more Chicago than Derrick Rose, so nobody should be shocked that he wants his future to be in the city that made him. Also, once again, the man has a family to support just like any other professional athlete. But, in the eyes of many, an athlete who has a rule in the NBA’s contract bargaining agreement and has played in just 100 games in the last four years to mention more money, is a prime situation to go on the attack of said athlete.
(Note: Only eight NBA players will make more money than Derrick Rose this season.)
To credit Sean Highkin of Bleacher Report for his column on Rose, the 26-year-old point guard has two seasons left on his five-year, $94 million contract he signed back in December 2011, and for Rose to bring his pending free agency after three knee surgeries since his MVP campaign, isn’t exactly a smart thing to do.
A nugget from Highkin’s column:
If there’s one thing most professional athletes hate, it’s talking about free agency. The topic is usually one a player will deign to address once, at the beginning of the year, before declaring it off-limits. That’s what Luol Deng did at Bulls training camp in 2013, and what Jimmy Butler did last October after failing to agree to an extension with the Bulls. Sitting next to Rose at the podium on Monday was Joakim Noah, whose own contract is up after this season. Nobody even bothered to ask Noah about it, because he was never going to say anything other than he’s not thinking about it and he’s focused on the season.
Personally, I think Rose was in the right mindset when he spoke on his pending free agency. Once again for Rose, it’s saying something that will be on the table, but didn’t really need to be said at the current juncture. During last season, Rose faced scrutiny and criticism from many on his comments about not wanting to limp around and feel old at his son’s future graduations and parties.
The most mind-boggling thing for everyone is the fact that Rose brought up 2017 free agency on his own. Rose wasn’t asked about 2017 by anyone. The question was about another cloud looming over him at the current moment, and for him to go in that direction was a mystery.
There’s no denying that Rose is still confident he can be this guy again, but until he proves that he can be, he’s just digging himself a bigger hole to climb out of this season and beyond.
In the words of Highkin, “That’s just life with Rose. Even when he means well, he always manages to give his detractors just enough ammo to make their points.”