NBA training camps have opened up, bringing us one step closer to the start of the regular season. The slate is wiped clean and every team has a fresh start in hopes of winning an NBA championship.
The Chicago Bulls have high hopes of winning an NBA championship led by point guard Derrick Rose. The season is still a month away, but there is already controversy and injury clouding Rose. Over the past four seasons, Rose has appeared in 100 of a possible 312 games. On Tuesday Rose took an elbow to the face, fracturing his left orbital, which he had surgery on. He’s only supposed to miss two weeks. Before the injury occurred, Rose talked to the media when the Bulls opened up camp on Monday. That’s usually a time for players to discuss what they did in the offseason to improve and help a team to a championship. However, with Rose, his focus is on something else, his free agency, which doesn’t happen for another two seasons.
Rose was asked if he was able to move on [mentally] after his ex-girlfriend filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles accusing Rose and two of his friends of sexual assault. Rose said he has tunnel vision this summer. Later on in his response to that question, Rose said “As far as you see all the money they’re passing out in this league – just telling the truth – and knowing my day will be coming up soon. It’s not for me. It’s for P.J. (his son) and his future. So that’s what I’m thinking about right now.”
A reporter asked him, “Free agency?” And Rose responded with “yeah” and then was asked “you’re already thinking about free agency?” “I’m preparing for it,” Rose replied.
That is a big cause for concern if you are the Chicago Bulls or the team’s fan base. Here is a guy who is getting paid $93 million during his current contract with the Bulls, not to mention the $121 million he is getting paid by Adidas. He talks about wanting his son to be set financially for the rest of his life, which is great, but to be focused on a free agency period, where he expects to get even more money is unacceptable. You have to question if he is that worried about financial issues, if he is taking care of his money that he has now. This is the same guy who was cleared 100 percent by doctors after a leg injury, but elected not to play in the playoffs, citing he didn’t want to be in a wheelchair for his son’s graduation.
The Bulls are paying Rose a boatload of money, but aren’t getting much back on their investment in the former league MVP. Playing in just 32 percent of games over the past four seasons is not good, granted he can’t help if he somehow gets injured on the court. Two years ago he got a base salary of $17.6 million then last season he got $18.9 million. This upcoming season, he will make $20 million. Depending on how he goes about spending his money – which is his decision alone, nobody else’s – that kind of money would set up most people, their kids and grandkids for life. For whatever reason, Rose doesn’t think he has enough, looking two years ahead for a bigger payday, which might not be with the Bulls. The front office of Chicago has some serious thinking to do. Something they should at least consider is looking at possible trades for Rose, when his stock is high. That’s not saying they will trade him, but it’s an option they should consider down the road, especially if he doesn’t re-sign with the team, again two years from now. After all, he is getting paid a ton of money for only playing in 32 percent of his team’s games.
The Chicago fan base is one of the most loyal in all of professional sports. When it comes to the Bulls, the fans are looking for Rose to lead the team to an NBA championship for the first time since a guy named Jordan played there. But if this fan base wants Rose to be the man for that, he has to A. Stay healthy and B. Adjust his focus to his team and the upcoming season. The fans have been big supporters of Rose since the Bulls drafted him in 2008. These fans are the ones who are spending their hard-earned money on tickets, merchandise, etc. and want to see a winning team competing for championships. Also, some fans may look at this as a way of Rose saying if he’s offered more money – two years from now – from another team, he won’t hesitate to leave for greener pastures. Rose said he hopes to be in a Chicago Bulls uniform when that time comes, but a thing can over the course of the next two years.
The point guard is the guy who leads the team on the court and in most cases off the court as well. The teammates of Rose have to be scratching their heads after hearing what Rose addressed on Monday. They have to be looking at this with the question of “Is he really ready to endure this 82-game season with us and give us his entire focus?”
Rose’s focus is on a free agency period two years from now, and not the upcoming NBA season. Rose should adjust his focus to his teammates, coaching staff and organization for this upcoming season. He should also focus on his health, because if he can’t stay healthy over the course of the next two seasons, he won’t be getting that massive payday he is looking forward to.