With preseason quickly approaching and no official timeline for Isaiah Thomas, it appears as though Derrick Rose will be in a feature role for the start of the 2017-18 season. Rose will turn 29 just before the season starts and still could theoretically still secure one more significant pay-day before his career is over. And it’s a goal that LeBron James is reportedly invested in.
With Rose signing a minimum contract with the Cavs this off-season, his plan was fairly clear. By rehabbing his image and showing that he can be a positive contributor, Rose would be closer to the $150 million max contract on the open market he stated he was looking for earlier this season.
On a recent episode of The Jump, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin indicated that Rose is impressing his teammates during their workouts. He also commented on James’ investment in helping Rose achieve his goal of another significant payday.
You can view the clip in it’s entirety here:
The other big takeaway from this is that the Cavs are a much more motivated team heading into this upcoming season. This shouldn’t really be a surprise, as the makeup of this team is significantly different.
Last year’s Cavs started the season as a thin, veteran roster coming off a championship. They suffered a couple significant injuries and clearly prioritized saving themselves for the playoffs.
This season the Cavs are much deeper, and have players that have a reason to be motivated during the regular season. Both Rose and Thomas are fighting for a big payday and to show that they can put their injuries behind them. Jeff Green is looking to prove he still belongs in the league, while Cedi Osman is looking to prove he can transition to the NBA game. Beyond that, the team now has Jae Crowder who added to the chip on his shoulder this off-season and should help bring the energy and intensity level up throughout the season.
In addition to that, the returning players will need to battle the newcomers for minutes. Increasing their intensity and providing them with substitutes so that they can play harder in the minutes they do play.
While the battles for playing time could lead to tension in the locker room, a hungry and motivated Cavs team is something we haven’t seen for a long time. It also provides multiple intriguing storylines for the season moving forward.