Is It Money on Derrick Rose’s Mind or Winning?

It was less than five years ago when Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose stepped up to the podium to accept his first-ever MVP trophy. He graciously accepted the award, saying “I remember coming into training camp, saying that I wanted to be MVP. I wasn’t trying to be cocky at all. I knew that I put a lot of hard work in…I just wanted to push myself.”

Rose was revered as the humble superstar back then; a foil to LeBron James, who many regarded as egotistical and braggadocios. You see, D. Rose was the guy who did things the “right way”. He didn’t dance at all-star games, he didn’t try recruit players to his team like Dwyane Wade and James did in Miami, and he certainly didn’t make a spectacle of his free agency like LeBron did. No, Derrick Rose could seemingly do no wrong, and everyone loved him for it.

Fast forward four and a half years later, two torn meniscuses later, one torn ACL later, one $185 million Adidas shoe deal later, and a five year, $95 million deal from the Bulls later, and a lot has changed for the Chicago native. Once a mercurial talent fawned over by all, his injury history has made Rose a bit of a national punchline, playing in just 100 games since winning his MVP trophy three seasons ago.

In the latest installment of his saga, Rose made some befuddling comments regarding his contract situation after being asked a question regarding a sexual assault civil lawsuit filed against him in California.

“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.”

So after missing 146 of a possible 246 games over three years, Rose decided that now, as training camp opens and with the season less than a month away, is the perfect time to discuss his giddiness for his free agency two years from now. That now, after signing his deals with the Bulls and Adidas worth almost $300 million total, is the right time to remark on how everyone around him is cashing in.

Not only are his remarks ill-timed, they might just be delusional as well. In 51 games last season, by far the most since his 2012 ACL injury, Rose put up 17.7 points per game on 41% shooting from the field, adding 4.9 assists per game, as well. He ranked 23rd among point guards in player Player Efficiency Rating  (PER), finishing behind Darren Collison and Ty Lawson.

 

PER

 

PPG

 

APG

 

2015-16 Salary

 

Derrick Rose

15.9

17.7

4.9

$20,093,064

 

Darren Collison

17.5

16.1

5.6

$5,013,559

 

Ty Lawson

18.5

15.2

9.6

$12,404,495

Now, obviously simple counting stats and player efficiency rating don’t paint the full picture, but just juxtaposing the simple measures of the three above players against their respective salaries, it’s obvious that Derrick Rose is not living up to his contract. Unless Rose is able to regain some semblance of his MVP form, he may be in for a rude awakening when it finally does come time for his free agency.

In a karmic coincidence just days after making his comments, Rose took an elbow to the face in practice, fracturing his orbital bone. The injury isn’t expected to sideline him for any substantial amount of time, and it isn’t symptomatic or a result of previous injuries, but for those who choose to mock, it simply adds fuel to an already raging fire.

Once regarded as the up-and-coming face of the league, no one could have predicted the downward spiral that has been the last three years of Rose’s career. From hoisting the MVP trophy to hoisting himself off of hospital beds, Rose has been through the gambit, and he’s done himself no favors in making his aloof comments. He may have money on his mind right now, but he’ll need to return to his MVP form of three years ago if he wants more of it in his bank account come 2017.

follow Ryan on Twitter: @rgthorner

photo via llananba