Rose takes huge pay cut for shot at ti­tle with LeBron

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - TOM WITHERS

Der­rick Rose’s goal is to win an Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion cham­pi­onship. He’s a lit­tle closer to one.

The free-agent guard signed a one-year con­tract Tues­day with the Cleve­land Cava­liers, a team that has blocked his path to a ti­tle be­fore and one that needs him now.

Rose is get­ting a one-year, $2.1mil­lion deal — the vet­eran’s min­i­mum, and all Cleve­land could of­fer — from the Cava­liers, who now have a pos­si­ble re­place­ment for Kyrie Irv­ing. Rose gives the Cavs a proven player to han­dle point­guard du­ties if they choose to trade Irv­ing, who re­cently told the team he wants to be dealt de­spite mak­ing it to three straight NBA fi­nals.

And while Rose is tak­ing a sub­stan­tial pay cut (he made $21.3 mil­lion last sea­son in New York), he’s fo­cused on one thing.

“I have a sin­gle fo­cus and pur­pose of want­ing to play to win,” he said. “Be­ing part of a ros­ter and or­ga­ni­za­tion that shares that type of com­mit­ment and be­ing able to play with the Cava­liers and com­pete for a cham­pi­onship is the only thing that mat­ters for me. I am very happy to be in Cleve­land and look for­ward to get­ting to work.”

The Cava­liers’ pur­suit of Rose seemed some­what puz­zling be­fore Irv­ing’s de­mands be­came public. The all-star guard, whose three­p­ointer in the wan­ing mo­ments of Game 7 of the 2016 fi­nals gave Cleve­land its first sports cham­pi­onship in 52 years, has re­port­edly grown tired of play­ing along­side LeBron James and wants to be the fo­cal point for an­other team. Rose knows what that’s like. For seven years, he was the un­ques­tioned star for the Chicago Bulls, who got to the East­ern Con­fer­ence fi­nals in 2011 but were beaten by James’ Mi­ami Heat. Now the for­mer MVPs are united.

James wel­comed his new team­mate Mon­day on Twit­ter, post­ing five rose emoji’s with the mes­sage: “Let’s Rock G!!”

Rose drew in­ter­est from sev­eral teams but chose the Cava­liers, who de­spite their re­cent tur­moil and the un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing Irv­ing, are the class of their con­fer­ence.

“We are very ex­cited to be able to add a player of Der­rick’s cal­i­bre and ex­pe­ri­ence to the team,” said GM Koby Alt­man, who was pro­moted from an in­terim role on Mon­day. A three-time all-star and the 2011 MVP, Rose av­er­aged 18 points and 4.4 as­sists last sea­son while shoot­ing 48 per cent from the field with New York. Al­though he has been in­jury prone, Rose played in 64 games for the Knicks and in 181 over the past three sea­sons. He has av­er­aged 19.5 points and 6 as­sists in eight sea­sons as a pro.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

Der­rick Rose signed a one-year min­i­mum deal worth $2.1 mil­lion to join the Cava­liers next sea­son.

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