As a way to get through August, one of the slowest NBA months, The Real Shaq blog has enlisted several bloguin bloggers to compile a list of some of the worst NBA contracts, called the Jon Koncak Commemorative Awards.
Today is my day, and while many Spurs fans may hate me after this, I’ve chosen to highlight Malik Rose’s 7-year, $42 million contract signed in the summer of 2002.
Rose came to the Spurs in the summer of 1997 and many didn’t expect that he would make the team out of training camp. He surprised many and became a quick fan favorite for his blue-collar work ethic.
Hustle was what his game was all about. He wasn’t the most athletic, tallest (listed at 6-7, but closer to 6-4) or talented player, but he worked hard, was all-heart, and somehow found a way to steal rebounds away from defenders that towered over him.
He earned a ring in 1999, and again in 2003, capped by his slam over Dikembe “who wants to sex” Mutombo.
But Rose became a victim of his own success and contract. My guess is that he figured that such a raise meant he needed to add more to his game and improve offensively.
He began working on his shot and in games, started calling for the ball and did more shooting than the dirty work he had become known for. His game had changed, and the Spurs wanted him to be the player who once ruled the offensive boards.
Never mind the fact that he was earning more than Bruce Bowen, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Stephen Jackson at the time.
Just before the trade deadline in 2005, Rose and two draft picks were shipped to the Knicks for Nazr Mohammed and Jamison Brewer, who was immediately waived.
With the cap relief they gained in the Rose trade, they were able to sign several players to long-term contracts, including the big three.
The Spurs went on to win their third title that season, with Mohammed playing a major role.
Rose got little-to-no time under Isaiah Thomas with the Knicks. He was recently traded to the Thunder before they renounced his rights and he now servers as the pre-game analyst for Knicks games on the MSG network and also served as the color analyst for the Austin Toros.
While his playing career may be over, he still has plenty of fans in San Antonio. I, even, still somehow have a Spurs #31 jersey hanging in my closet.