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updated: 12/21/2011 9:15 PM

Now can Bulls keep Rose happy by protecting investment?

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  • The Bulls' Derrick Rose, who agreed to a five-year contract extension, addresses the media as general manager Gar Forman, right, looks on Wednesday morning.

      The Bulls' Derrick Rose, who agreed to a five-year contract extension, addresses the media as general manager Gar Forman, right, looks on Wednesday morning.
    Associated Press

 
 

The Bulls held a news conference Wednesday to announce they'd locked up Derrick Rose through the 2016-17 season. He signed a five-year extension worth between $94 million and $100 million.

It was a logical transaction for the youngest MVP in NBA history and great news for the local franchise.

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According to general manager Gar Forman, this deal does not contain any sort of early termination option. It ends no sooner than 2017.

This will count as even better news if Tuesday's exhibition at the United Center represents an investment protection plan.

By replacing Keith Bogans with veteran shooting guard Richard Hamilton, the Bulls added a proven offensive weapon where there had been none.

The hope is that a more balanced lineup will allow Rose to deliver more stat lines like the one he had against the Pacers -- 12 points, 9 assists and a routine Bulls victory.

"The game sometimes felt easy, especially when we had the ball," Rose said in the locker room.

The window with this particular lineup may be small, since Hamilton turns 34 in February.

More to the point, Rose's window of superstardom won't last long if the Bulls' success depends on him being the most aggressive, fearless and athletic point guard in the league.

Rose has amazing talents, but he is human and relatively small by NBA standards. He needs to settle into extended stretch of games being easy, especially with a condensed 66-game schedule on the way.

Otherwise, he won't be able to sustain the caliber of play he demonstrated last season. Injuries, wear and tear, or muscle fatigue are bound to take a toll.

Miami's Dwyane Wade understood that he was starting to slow down and recruited LeBron James to ease the burden.

Think Wade and James had it easy last season? They could essentially take a break on every other offensive possession while the other one went to work.

Rose will continue to be the Bulls' most dangerous player. Whether he has enough passing options to make him impossible to guard is a question that can't be answered until the playoffs.

On Wednesday the Bulls and Rose took some time to celebrate their mutual good fortune. It took some incredible draft-lottery luck for Rose to land with his hometown team in 2008.

"To come to this team, everything has been perfect," Rose said. "I couldn't ask for anything better."

"He embodies all the characteristics that you look for in a championship player," added coach Tom Thibodeau. "The talent is the obvious part. Then you look at his will to win, his basketball IQ, his unselfishness, his humility.

"The way he works each and every day sets the tone for our team."

The day's most humorous moment came when Rose listened to a long question about whether he could ease up a little bit to help get himself through the tighter NBA schedule.

Before saying anything, Rose looked over at Thibodeau and laughed. That's a better question for the coach.

As usual, Rose's mother, Brenda, and three older brothers looked on. Rose also thanked a long list of friends for staying loyal and not being "yes men."

Here are a few more highlights:

Rose on his journey from Englewood to NBA riches (to BullsTV):

"It feels so unreal. I remember, I used to get an allowance. For a whole week, my allowance used to be $5. Those types of things I try not to forget. Whenever I feel things like this are coming, I think about days like that -- me growing up having holes in my shoes and things like that. I just try not to forget about those days."

On using the money to help his old neighborhood:

"I think I would start where I grew up, along 73rd and Paulina, definitely start in that area. They don't have any indoor courts around there or any after school programs for kids.

"That's something I think I would start with, something for after school, so kids have something to do. It would take a lot of work and a lot of time."

On whether the new contract will make him a different person:

"Money, I don't think is going to change me. If anything, it would have changed me by now.

Right now I'm able to get anything I want. I don't spend much, I'm humble, take care of others. It has a lot to do with my mom. I'm talking to her all the time, my brothers all the time. They're telling me to make sure I stay levelheaded, take care of other people."

On whether this contract creates pressure to perform on the court:

"I don't try to think about the money. I just try to go out there and play. If you work hard during the off-season, it's going to show. I try to do the same thing in practice.

"I don't even know how much I make. I just know I get paid, watch my accounts. … they're growing."

mmcgraw@dailyherald.com

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