Bulls' Butler on Rose's 2017 free-agency talk: 'Just help us win some basketball games'
Derrick Rose's uneven comeback season in 2014-15 was defined by perceptive collisions; of wishful thinking about his return to form and the cold reality of his objectively declining production, and glimpses of past explosiveness coupled with visible signs of regression.
And so, the 2015-16 season will be another proving ground for Rose, only this time, on the heels of those inscrutable results, a more urgent one. If this season brings more spotty results and injury troubles - he has already suffered an orbital fracture that will require surgery - it will be that much more difficult to imagine the Rose of old ever returning.
He got to see this summer the kind of money he could cost himself by not playing up to his old standards, and he acknowledged as much during Chicago Bulls Media Day on Monday. He admitted to already looking ahead to his free agency in 2017, when the salary cap is projected to be nearly $40 million higher than it is now.
"I want to be here," Rose said. "But when you talk about that much money, all you can do is prepare for it.
"All the money that's being handed out. I know my day is coming."
On top of those perceptive contradictions, last season brought rumblings that there was friction between Rose and swingman Jimmy Butler, who supplanted him as the Bulls' All-Star, leading scorer, and nominal No. 1 option. Both guys denied it, but Butler - who signed a five-year, $95-million extension this offseason - was still asked to offer his take on Rose's comments.
He was, perhaps predictably, a little more focused on Rose's play.
Rose signed a contract nearly identical to Butler's (five years, $94 million) back in 2011, the summer after he was named league MVP. He's set to make more than $20 million in each of the final two seasons of his deal.
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