Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Chicago Bulls Have Locked Up Derrick Rose for the Next Five Years: Money Buys My Happiness

Holy balls, a basketball post!

Okay, first, let's just recap that title: The Chicago Bulls have locked up reigning MVP Derrick Rose for the next five years with a contract worth roughly $94 million. I'm happy enough with this; I'm a Bulls fan, and Rose is fun to watch. I wish he had another move besides "drive the line, float the ball over everyone's head", but hey, so far, can't argue with results.

I bring this up solely because it illustrates a interesting, but misunderstood aspect of wealthy, large market teams: that their money even buys stability with their current roster.

You've probably heard some of what I'm talking about before: fans saying their team didn't BUY their success because Player X, Y, or Z is home grown. And it's not even usually some ridiculous third-stringer; Yankees fans, for example, always point to Jeter and Rivera. And that's true! But last time out, the Yankees spent $50 million for the last three years of Jeter's career (oh, crap, spoilers!) and $30 million for two more years of 'Mo.

The thing is, everyone is home grown somewhere. Starting your career with a team doesn't mean much; Shaq started with the Magic. Pujols ack erk sob sob sob. But they moved, because someone else was willing to pay up. It's not just about finding talent, it's about keeping talent, and if you've got money, you've got one more tool to help you do that.

Which brings us back to the Bulls and Rose. The Bulls are a wealthy franchise, and so they can afford to lock up their top player. The NBA complicates this a little, in that it has max contracts, but still, the Bulls can afford to hand out more max contracts than other teams. And anyway, the NBA's olive branch to "home growing" its players is that a player's first team can actually offer him MORE money.

My point is, money doesn't just give a team free agency options. It lets it avoid free agency just as much.

UPDATE: Friend of the blog Chip adds in some details on the NBA's max salary rules under the new collective bargaining agreement: "The new CbA allows teams lucky enough to draft the MVP (or other qualified examples I can't remember just now) to give Them something like 30% of the salary cap as a max, and an extra year. It's rare to have an MVP so young and it is great luck for the bulls. But also very interesting from the contract / CBS standpoint."

I'd heard about this, but didn't think about including it because, y'know, shitty blogger. But it's real, and some people have even taken to calling it the Derrick Rose Rule. My theory above holds true, though- a wealthy team still has more of an ability to exercise this option, even if all teams would be allowed to do so.

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