Derrick Rose will be the starting point guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers until Isaiah Thomas is able to return from his hip injury, which is quite the upgrade from his old job as starting point guard for the Knicks. However, to get to a contender, Rose had to take a significant pay cut, as he’ll make only $2.1 million this season on the veteran minimum.
Rose signed the deal in order to bet on himself and prove to the rest of the league that he can still play at a high level. If he can, he figures to cash in next summer when he hits free agency.
The first challenge for Rose is to prove he can stay healthy, as he’s played in 79 percent of his team’s games (130 of 164) over the past two seasons. That’s solid, and an improvement over his run of only 100 games played in three seasons prior, but teams will undoubtedly want to see if he’s shaken the injury bug before handing over a big contract. Beyond that, Rose needs to show he’s still a capable point guard in the NBA on both ends of the floor.
He’s never been an especially good three-point shooter, but players tend to look better in that area when playing with LeBron James. If he can show he still has some athleticism and life left in his legs despite so many injuries and surgeries, he might just be able to play his way into a strong deal next summer.