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Derrick Rose has financial reason to stay in NBA, but do teams want him?

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Derrick Rose is taking time away from the Cavaliers to figure out what his future NBA path looks like, and if he wants to go down that road. The former MVP has been a shell of his former self following four knee surgeries, and this season was out six games in a row with an ankle injury before the one he missed Friday night away from the team (the Cavaliers won every one of those games with him out). Rose has said before he wants to be able to walk after he’s done playing, not just run his body into the ground. Rose reportedly, and understandably, is tired of his body betraying him and the seemingly endless rehab efforts.

Is Rose really going to walk away from the NBA at age 29?

Probably not, and there are 80 million reasons why.

Will another team want him beyond this season? That is a different question.

Rose likely will not just retire this season because, while he is on a veteran minimum contract with the Cavaliers, Adidas is still paying him a lot of money. A LOT of money. Nick DePaula of ESPN explains.

As he continues to “re-evaluate his future in the NBA” while away from the Cleveland Cavaliers, point guard Derrick Rose could potentially be leaving more than $80 million of Adidas endorsement money on the table should he decide to retire outright…

If Rose files retirement paperwork with the league, the terms of any remaining years on the Adidas deal will not be paid out. Even though Rose’s star power has faded in recent years, Adidas has been contractually obligated to continue producing and marketing a DRose signature sneaker each year. Rose had been wearing the DRose 8 model this season.

Before the injuries, Rose sold a lot of shoes and Adidas paid him to be the face of their brand. Then came the knee injuries that robbed him of both his explosiveness and, with it, his shoe sales.

Rose has plenty of money in the bank, but still who is walking away from a potential $80 million?

The question is, will teams still want him? He can create off the dribble and get buckets still (although not at the rate he used to), but he is a massive defensive liability. The Cavaliers defense is 12.6 points per 100 possessions better with Rose off the court this season (and the offense is 4.1 per 100 better when he’s out). Chris Mannix of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports talked to some scouts and executives who are not convinced there is much demand.

“He’s been terrible,” a scout told Yahoo Sports earlier this month. “That’s the point of attack. If you can’t stop the ball, you can’t stop anybody. And he isn’t defending the ball at all. If you put him in a pick-and-roll, you are guaranteed to get any shot that you want.”…

He could return to Cleveland, finish the season, and enter free agency next summer radioactive. The market — already dry for a faded former star — will become barren. Said a longtime NBA executive, “He’s become Deron Williams.”

My guess is Rose could land another minimum contract as a backup point guard (which is what the Cavaliers thought his role would be, it just grew with Isaiah Thomas out for the first couple of months). But maybe not. And maybe Rose is okay with that.

Warriors will watch Kobe Bryant’s numbers get retired, Lakers might not

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The Lakers will retire Kobe Bryant’s No. 8 and No. 24 at halftime of their game against Warriors tonight.

The road team won’t miss it. The home team might.

Golden State coach Steve Kerr, via Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area:

“I want our guys to see it,” Kerr said Saturday. “It’ll be a pretty cool moment.

“Just to experience of one of the greatest players in the history of the game getting his jersey retired and we happen to be there? I’m not going to keep them in the locker room watching tape from the first half. The players would look at me like I was nuts.”

Lakers coach Luke Walton, via Harrison Faigen of Lakers Nation:

“I hadn’t thought much about [watching the ceremony],” Walton said Sunday. “We’re still deciding how we’ll approach halftime.

“Our first priority is still the job that we have. I’m sure there’s going to be some halftime adjustments we need to make against the Warriors. We’re toying with a couple different ideas to let guys at least see part of it.”

Kerr seems like a pretty cool guy, someone who understands what truly matters. This will be a historic moment, and that can take priority over watching video for one night in a long season.

But he also has the luxury of coaching an all-time great team. Even with Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Zaza Pachulia and Shaun Livingston injured, the Warriors are favored.

Walton has a young team that needs every break it can get. But he too should embrace the significance of the ceremony. His franchise is.

After reportedly initially being scheduled for pregame, the ceremony will occur at halftime. The NBA implemented a hard 15-minute limit on halftimes this season. Any team not ready will be assessed a delay-of-game penalty. So, lengthy speeches tonight could hinder the current team on the court. And that’s well worth the cost of doing business.

In the same regard, current Lakers watching Kobe’s ceremony would gain pride in being a Laker. There’s real value in that, probably more than in going over adjustments for a December game during a season very likely to end outside the playoffs regardless.

George Hill nails half-court buzzer-beater with less than a second to shoot (video)

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I bet this made George Hill happier.

The Kings still losing to the Raptors, 108-93, probably didn’t, though.

Phil Jackson to miss Kobe Bryant’s jersey retirement Monday

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For one last night, Staples Center will belong to Kobe Bryant on Monday.

Sure, the Warriors are in town to take on the Lakers, but Monday night the Lakers are retiring Kobe Bryant’s numbers — both 8 and 24 — in a halftime ceremony. It’s been the hottest ticket in Los Angeles, with celebrities, luminaries, and regular Lakers fans shelling out a lot of cash to see the Laker legend be honored.

Except, Phil Jackson will not be there, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Jackson has been in touch with Bryant in advance of the ceremony to congratulate him, sources said. But he was unable to travel from his Montana home for the ceremony in Los Angeles.

No reason was given (nor does one need to be made public, that’s between Kobe and Jackson).

Jackson coached Kobe to all five of his NBA titles, and while their relationship had its ups and downs — remember Jackson called out Kobe as almost uncoachable in one of his books — they remain close.

 

Three Things to Know: LeBron James racks up third straight triple-double

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Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA. Here’s what you missed on Sunday while practicing your ax throwing in Paris

1) LeBron James has third straight triple-double… and sends equality message. Back in the 2008-09 season, LeBron James strung together three consecutive games of triple-doubles, the season he went on to win his first MVP award. Despite 61 career triple-doubles, he hasn’t had a string like that since.

Until now. LeBron put together three again this week, the most recent coming at the expense of the Washington Wizards on Sunday, a team that had no answer for his playmaking skills. James finished the game with 20 points, 12 rebounds and 15 assists. It wasn’t the most efficient LeBron scoring performance of his career (8-of-23 shooting overall, 2-of-7 from three, his legs looked a little tired on the back-to-back) and he was playing too much in isolation (nearly twice as many possessions as in pick-and-roll). However, down the stretch he was a fantastic playmaker, finding teammates — such as finding the cutting Jeff Green and Kyle Korver — and doing what it took to lift his team to the 106-99 win (Cleveland’s has won five straight and 18-of-19).

LeBron was also sending a message while playing in our nation’s capital: He wore one black and one white of the LeBron 15s, with the word “Equality” on the back of both of them. Good on LeBron, I love that he has found a voice and is comfortable using it.

2) Cavaliers sticking to plan even if he seems ready: Isaiah Thomas should join Cavaliers after the first of the year. Patience. It’s a virtue. Cleveland’s end game is to have another elite playmaker and scorer on the floor in late May and (hopefully) June, not for Christmas Day (no matter who is on the schedule).

Meaning that despite the face Isaiah Thomas is working out and says he and his injured hip feel ready to return, it will be 2018 before he officially pulls on a Cavaliers jersey and takes the court.

This is the smart play by the Cavaliers, who have racked up enough wins not to need to push him. That said, LeBron is carrying a heavy load — he’s played more minutes than anyone in the league so far, and this is his 15th NBA season — and the Cavaliers need to get him some help and rest so he is fresh for the postseason.

3) Detroit ties a franchise record with 17 made threes in win over Orlando. The Pistons are not exactly a great three-point shooting team: They average a middle-of-the-pack 29.3 attempts per game (31.6 percent of their attempts), but at least hit them at a healthy 38.3 percent clip. Detroit does a good job at least of getting corner threes up and knocking them down.

Sunday they were knocking everything down, hitting 17-of-34 threes to tie a franchise record for the most made threes in a game. Anthony Tolliver led the way (5-of-7 from deep) with Reggie Bullock pitching in 4-of-5.

The Pistons have snapped out of their seven-game losing streak to win three in a row now, including a quality win over the Pacers on the second night of a back-to-back.