As he continues to “re-evaluate his future in the NBA” while away from the Cleveland Cavaliers, point guard Derrick Rose could potentially be leaving more than $80 million of Adidas endorsement money on the table should he decide to retire outright.
While Rose is on a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract with the Cavaliers for this season, he still has seven seasons left on the 13-year, $185 million Adidas extension he signed in 2012. The brand is “absolutely” protected, according to an industry source familiar with NBA endorsement deal exit clauses.
If Rose files retirement paperwork with the league, the terms of any remaining years on the Adidas deal will not be paid out. Even though Rose’s star power has faded in recent years, Adidas has been contractually obligated to continue producing and marketing a DRose signature sneaker each year. Rose had been wearing the DRose 8 model this season.
Rose and Adidas first struck the long-term extension in February 2012, not long after Rose had become the youngest MVP in league history. His initial rookie shoe deal, signed in July 2008 after he went No. 1 overall in the NBA draft, was worth over $1 million per year for four years. With that deal set to expire, Rose and his agent, BJ Armstrong, were quick to work toward a long-term extension during what is commonly referred to as the “exclusive negotiating window.” Nike and other competing brands would’ve been able to pitch Rose after July 2012, and were expected to be aggressive in their offers.
“We’re extremely excited to extend our partnership with Derrick Rose,” an Adidas executive said at the time. “Derrick is a tremendous partner whose humility, commitment to the community and exciting play on the court is a perfect match for the Adidas brand.”
The Bulls’ franchise player was hitting his stride on the court and at retail, with the Rose signature series netting $40 million in sales in 2012, beating out Kevin Durant‘s line at the time and just behind Kobe Bryant’s $50 million Nike business.
Adidas, which held a modest 4.7 percent market share, was looking to continue making small steps toward competing with then-category leader Jordan Brand, who held a 63 percent hold on hoops. The overall Nike Inc. portfolio of Nike Basketball, Jordan and Converse dominated with a 92 percent market share at the time.
Rose’s unprecedented extension could’ve been worth as much as $260 million at its highest ceiling, with an “all included” package of Finals MVP, leading scorer, All-Star starter and additional on-court bonuses and sales thresholds met. However, just two months after inking the deal, Rose tore the ACL in his left knee in the opening game of the 2012 playoffs. After missing the entire 2012-13 Bulls campaign, the former MVP and brand fell on more bad luck.
During the 11th game of the 2013-14 season, against the Portland Trail Blazers, Rose suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee on a noncontact play while running up court. Adidas executives were seated baseline at the Moda Center, adjacent to the Bulls bench, and watched the face of their brand head through the visitor’s tunnel to the locker room after yet another season-ending injury.
For Rose, this isn’t the first time he’s given deep thought to walking away from the game. As a member of the Knicks last season, he had told teammates he was planning to play only three or four seasons longer, at most, and would then look to retire, according to team sources.