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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.

Montrezl Harrell reportedly reaches deal to return to Clippers

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The Clippers liked Montrezl Harrell last season (he came from Houston in the Chris Paul trade), he averaged 11 points a game for the team with a very efficient PER of 24.7.

He was one restricted agent some around the league thought another team would try to poach, but in a tight market nobody was making an offer because the Clippers were just expected to match. So the Clippers and Harrell (and his agent) sat down and figured out something that worked for both sides, as reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The deal is fully guaranteed for both years, according to the report. That’s a fair price for his services, and Harrell gets back on the market in two years when the salary cap will have gone up by more than $15 million (at least by the NBA’s early predictions). He will have more options on 2020.

The Clippers are now just $500 below the luxury tax. They also have 16 contracts, which is bad news for C.J. Wilson and his non-guaranteed deal. (Technically Patrick Beverley has a non-guaranteed contract as well, but if healthy he will be back.)

For a couple of seasons, this is a good fit. Harrell will bring some athleticism and bounce to a frontcourt rotation that already includes Tobias Harris, Luc Mbah a Moute, Marcin Gortat, and Boban Marjanovic. The Clippers are a pretty good team, the problem is in the West pretty good could be the 10 or 11 seed. The conference is that deep and brutal.

Would Dwyane Wade take a big payday in China? Would Jahlil Okafor?

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Dwayne Wade is making a tough decision: Does he want to go through the physical grind to get his body ready for one more season of NBA basketball in Miami? Or, is it time to retire?

For some of the greats — most recently Kobe Bryant talked openly about this — they still love the game and the camaraderie, but they get to a point they no longer have the same passion for putting in the increasing work on their bodies to get it in NBA-level condition to perform at the level they expect. Wade is struggling with that debate right now.

Or, he could just go to China.

From Sportando:

Dwyane Wade is still a free agent after his season with Cavaliers and Heat. Wade has not decided yet whether to play one more season or retire. But D-Wade is wanted in China. Xinjiang Flying Tigers are ready to offer him a monster deal, as reported by Zhang Duo.

It’s hard to imagine Wade jumping on that, but not impossible. The salary is not going to be the motivator — he has made just shy of $180 million in salary alone in his career, and much more with endorsements — but rather the move would be about building his brand and his new lifetime shoe deal with Li-Ning, a China-based shoe manufacturer. Business-wise, it could be good for Wade to spend a season in China.

Of course, family and other considerations have to be at the forefront of his mind, which is why this still feels unlikely. Just never say never.

One guy who could go there and rehab his reputation is free-agent Jahlil Okafor. Also from Sportando:

Okafor is practicing in Miami but the Heat are unlikely to sign him but in China there are several teams interested in signing the former Duke center, as reported by Zhang Duo.

Okafor has worked out for NBA teams but has no offers (or, at least none he’s taken) and it’s increasingly unlikely he would get a fully guaranteed contract for this season. He, understandably, is clearly still working toward that goal.

In China, Okafor could put up big numbers, show he is healthy and moving well, get a good payday, and be back in the USA in time to get picked up by a team for a playoff run (the Chinese season ends in February or March, depending on how deep a team goes in the playoffs). It’s a big cultural adjustment and not for everyone, but Okafor has to be considering all his options at this point.

Jazz ending sponsorship deal with Papa John’s

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Jazz are ending their sponsorship agreement with Papa John’s Pizza after the company’s founder and spokesman used a racial slur.

A person with knowledge of the team’s decision confirmed the move Friday and said it was because of the controversy. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the organization will not make a formal announcement.

A number of professional and college teams have cut ties to the company over Papa John’s founder John Schnatter’s comment during a company conference call in May. Among them are the Orlando Magic, Seattle Seahawks, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, University of Louisville,  and numerous others.

Schnatter apologized and stepped down as chairman but remains on the company’s board. He’s since said his decision to step down was a “mistake.”

The company says it’s also investigating allegations reported in Forbes that Schnatter oversaw a work culture where women were subject to sexist behavior.

 

Report: Nemanja Bjelica agrees to three-year contract with Kings

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Nemanja Bjelica wanted some stability. That got pulled out from under him when  Tom Thibodeau and the Timberwolves rescinded his qualifying offer. He quickly agreed to a one-year, $4.4 million offer, with Philadelphia, but then came to regret it because he wanted more security than that single season. Bjelica was considering Europe.

Then the Sacramento Kings stepped in. Friday night, the two sides reached a deal.

The Kings have signed both players who backed out of verbal agreements with teams this summer, Bjelica with the Sixers and Yogi Ferrell with the Mavericks.

Bjelica is a floor-spacing big man who should fit in well with the Kings’ frontcourt rotation that includes Marvin Bagley III, Harry Giles, Willie Caulie-Stein, and others. Bjelica provides shooting — he hit 41.5 percent from three last season (where he took nearly half his shots). Bjelica has a solid all-around game that a lot of teams could have used. Including Minnesota and Philly.