Breaking Down the “Derrick Rose Provision”
One of the aspects of the new CBA is the ability to give players who grossly outplay their rookie scale contracts – the typical four-year deal given to first-round picks based on a sliding scale – more money. Under the old deal the extensions teams could offer that kicked in for the fifth season were set at a maximum of 25% of the cap, but under the new deal if a player meets certain benchmarks that number can be 30%. This is being called the “Derrick Rose Provision” after the Chicago Bulls point guard who won the league MVP last year, in just his third season in the NBA.
Typically players with 0-6 years of experience are limited to a maximum salary of 25% of the cap, but after that they can earn 30% of the cap for a deal signed with 7-9 years of experience, or 35% of the cap for 10 or more years of experience. This is exactly why players like LeBron James, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and others didn’t sign contracts of maximum length coming off their rookie deals. Instead they signed three-year extensions (plus a Player Option, or a four-year deal with the fourth being an Early Termination Option) in order to time their free agency to coincide with this seventh year of experience and thus a 30% of the cap max contract.
This new provision allows a team to pay their own very successful player that amount earlier and increase the likelihood the player spends his best years with the team who drafted him.
So who does this new provision affect? Who could it have affected in the past? Who could it affect in the future? Will it come into play often? It’s time to address all those questions.
First, let’s define the “Derrick Rose Provision.” A player is eligible for this 30% maximum contract if they reach one of three benchmarks during the first four years of their career:
1 – Win the NBA Most Valuable Player award. Makes sense, because that player probably is pretty dang good.
2 – Be named a starter in the NBA All-Star Game twice. Players with this kind of popularity likely are helping their teams win AND are helping them at the gate as well.
3 – Be named to any of the three All-NBA teams twice. This helps players who may not win the popularity contest of starting in an All-Star Game.
There are only two current players this provision will have an immediate impact on: Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose (naturally) by virtue of his 2010-11 MVP award, and Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant, by virtue of two All-NBA First Team placements. Durant signed a max extension a year early in the summer of 2010, but it’s based on the rules of the 2011-12 cap figures, so even though it was signed a year ago he’s getting a $2.9 million raise in the first year (check out the full impact of this on Durant’s salary in the NBA PM here). Rose is eligible for an extension as soon as NBA business opens – expect the Bulls to gladly put this new max offer on the table and Rose to sign it just as fast.
If this rule had been around in the past, who would have earned a larger deal? Well, let’s take a look, starting all the way back with the first year of the rookie salary scale in 1995-96.
Would any other MVP wins have earned a player the higher scale?
No. Rose is the first player to win the award on his rookie scale deal. Allen Iverson actually came the closest, being a rookie in 1996-97 and named MVP in his fifth season, 2000-01.
How about All-Star Game starts?
San Antonio’s Tim Duncan started in his third and fourth season, so he would qualify. So did Steve Francis as a Houston Rocket. His teammate, center Yao Ming started in the All-Star Game his first four seasons in the league. Cleveland’s LeBron James started in the game his second, third, and fourth seasons. Miami’s Dwyane Wade started his third and fourth seasons. If Derrick Rose is named a starter this season he would qualify under this provision as well.
So what about All-NBA teams?
Besides Durant, Duncan would qualify here as well by being named to the All-NBA First Team each of his first four years. Wade, Yao and James would also qualify here. Allen Iverson would join the group here with a first team selection his third year and a second team selection in his fourth. So would Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, and Brandon Roy. With an All-NBA berth this year Rose could become the only player to qualify in all three categories.
That’s it – fourteen players since 1995-96 would qualify for the extra five percent based on the first four years of their careers. It’s a very, very elite group of players and each of them great players in their own rights.
It makes you wonder…who else could join that group?
Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook could with a second All-NBA selection to go with his 2010-11 second team berth. He’s the only player halfway there via this route, but he only has one more year to earn that.
No player on a rookie scale contract, save Rose, has even one All-Star start under their belts. Al Horford was named to the All-Star team twice as a reserve on his rookie scale deal, but he didn’t sign a max extension last summer anyway. Westbrook, Kevin Love and Blake Griffin each have one reserve selection. Of those, only Griffin has a shot here, with two full seasons left to be named a starter.
Other players in Griffin’s rookie class of 2009 would have be named a starter in 2012 and 2013, but looking over the first round of that draft it’s not likely any players earn the honor this season.
Besides Griffin and Westbrook, both who could be considered MVP candidates as well, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors is another name to watch from the past few drafts who could join this elite group.
These players will have a tough road of it, but should be considered as possibles:
Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings: Rebuilding could hold him back from All-NBA teams, but he has the talent.
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings: He won’t earn fan votes, but maybe some third team All-NBA votes? We keep hearing how weak the center position is, so why not Cousins?
John Wall, Washington Wizards: Point guard is tough to break through in All-Star starting and in All-NBA teams. He’d have to improve very quickly.
So that’s it. Over 18 seasons of the rookie scale contracts for first-round picks and this group of players today has 14 members and only a few others who currently have a chance to join it. If a player joins the exclusive club, a max contract worth 30% of the cap instead of just 25% seems like a just reward.