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Bulls show Rose some love with five-year extension

Associated Press / December 21, 2011
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Derrick Rose says there isn’t much that excites him. A maximum contract extension, though, just might.

The reigning MVP agreed to a five-year contract extension with the Chicago Bulls worth approximately $94 million, a person familiar with the situation said.

The person spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity last night because the deal had not been finalized. The extension will start in the 2012-13 season, when Rose is eligible to make about $16 million.

Rose wouldn’t say anything specific after the Bulls’ preseason game last night.

“It’s something big, but I think I want to talk more about it [today], with my family and everybody being there,’’ the Bulls’ star point guard said. “But it’s definitely something big.’’

And, teammates say, it was well-earned.

“We’re all very excited for him,’’ Carlos Boozer said. “He deserves it. He puts in a lot of effort. I wish the contract was for 10 years.’’

The chance to join Rose in the backcourt was a big draw for Richard Hamilton. The veteran shooting guard signed with the Bulls last week after being bought out by the Detroit Pistons, and so far, he likes what he sees.

“He works hard,’’ Hamilton said. “He’s young. He’s 23 years old and the way he plays on the floor is the way he practices. In order to be great in this league, you just can’t turn it on [during] games. He really has a great work ethic.’’

The deal is more of a formality than a surprise.

Rose and general manager Gar Forman had indicated it would get done, and it was not hard to see why they wanted to stay together.

The Chicago product 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 what weighs on him as he enters his fourth season - not the money.

“I think I live a humble life,’’ Rose said. “Of course, I know I’ll be able to afford whatever I want, but other than that, there aren’t too many things that excite me. Me winning is one of the things. Me being around my family, that’s another. Money, that’s the last thing I think about.’’

The Bulls came close to winning it all last season, winning a league-high 62 games and advancing all the way to the Eastern Conference finals before losing to the Miami Heat.

Now, they’re looking for more.

Rose has repeatedly pointed the finger at himself for the Bulls coming up short against the Heat in the playoffs. He worked on his inside game in the offseason after expanding his shooting range in previous years, but it’s hard to imagine him accomplishing much more than he did last season.

Rose delivered one of the best seasons by a point guard. He also joined Michael Jordan as the only Bulls players to win the MVP award.

The South Side product established himself as one of the league’s best players, averaging 25 points and 7.7 assists while leading Chicago to its best season since the championship era with Jordan and Scottie Pippen.

For Rose, the contract extension is just another milestone in a rapid rise from the city’s rough Englewood neighborhood to a starring role with his hometown team.

“The Bulls are loyal,’’ Rose said. “They’ve stayed loyal with me, showed that they trusted me by picking me to come here. I just feel blessed, and I’m just happy that I’m here.’’

Rubio, Barea sidelined

Ricky Rubio and J.J. Barea will miss the Timberwolves’ preseason game tonight against the Bucks to rest minor injuries. Rubio has a sprained right ankle and Barea has a thigh bruise. Both guards did not practice Monday or yesterday for precautionary reasons and stayed behind in Minnesota when the team left for Milwaukee. Neither injury is considered serious . . . The Grizzlies tendered an offer sheet to restricted free agent forward Dante Cunningham. The Bobcats have three days to match the offer . . . Chris Paul’s debut with the Clippers was the most-watched preseason game in NBA TV history. The Clippers’ 114-95 victory over the Lakers on Monday night drew 509,000 viewers. The previous record of 501,000 viewers came in another celebrated debut, when the Heat beat Detroit Oct. 10, 2010, in their first game with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh . . . James Harden had 13 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists, Russell Westbrook added 12 points and the Thunder beat the Mavericks for the second time in three days, winning, 87-83, last night in an exhibition game in Oklahoma City.

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