VOL. 126 | NO. 248 | Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Bulls Announce 5-Year Extension for Rose
ANDREW SELIGMAN | AP Sports Writer
DEERFIELD, Ill. (AP) – The Chicago Bulls have made it official: Reigning MVP Derrick Rose has agreed to a five-year contract extension.
The deal extension, which kicks in next season, was announced Wednesday. It is worth approximately $94 million, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press late Tuesday on condition of anonymity because the team has not released details.
"We are thrilled that we have signed Derrick to an extension. On top of being a great player, what has set Derrick apart is his make-up, character, drive and his leadership," general manager Gar Forman said. "That being said, we believe his greatest asset is his loyalty to his teammates, to our organization and to the city of Chicago. We look forward to having Derrick in a Bulls uniform for years to come."
The extension was hardly a surprise given all that Rose has accomplished so far.
The Chicago native went from Rookie of the Year to All-Star to MVP in his first three seasons, becoming the youngest player to win that award. About the only thing he doesn't have is a championship ring, and that's something he hopes to change in Year 4.
The Bulls came close last year, winning a league-high 62 games during the regular season and advancing to the Eastern Conference finals before losing to Miami. That series weighed on Rose during a long offseason.
He repeatedly blamed himself the past few weeks for losing to the Heat, saying he could have done more and made better decisions. Then again, no one did more to catapult the Bulls into contention than Rose.
He openly wondered why he couldn't be MVP at the start of camp last year after LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh turned down Chicago to unite in Miami and then backed it up with one of the best seasons by a point guard.
He averaged 25 points, 7.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds over 81 games, the only NBA player last year to rank in the top 10 in both scoring and assists. He also became just the fifth player in history (along with Oscar Robertson, John Havlicek, Michael Jordan and LeBron James) to post 2,000 points, 600 assists and 300 rebounds in a single season
More important to Rose, he led Chicago to its best season since the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen championship era and he joined Jordan as the only Bulls players to win the MVP award.
The contract extension is just another step in a steady and rapid rise for a superstar point guard who grew up just a few miles south of the United Center, in the tough Englewood neighborhood.
He helped Simeon Career Academy become the first Chicago Public League team to win back-to-back state championships, then led Memphis to the NCAA championship game before the Bulls drafted him with the No. 1 pick in 2008 after defying long odds to win the lottery.
"It is a dream come true to play for the Chicago Bulls, and with this new contract the dream continues," Rose said. "It is an honor to play in the city that I grew up in, and I am very appreciative of this opportunity with my hometown Bulls. I want all of our fans out there to know that I am committed to one goal and that is winning an NBA championship for Chicago."
Rose has added new wrinkles to his game every season since he entered the league. He expanded his shooting range the past few years and spent this past offseason honing his post game, hoping he and the Bulls can take that next step.
They're eyeing the biggest prize of all, and with one of the league's deepest rosters, they see no reason why they can't contend for a championship.
That will hinge largely on the health of Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer after they were limited last season by injuries and how quickly newcomer Richard Hamilton can adapt after spending the past nine seasons in Detroit. The veteran guard gives the Bulls another scoring option and height in the backcourt, but for Chicago, it all starts with Rose.
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