The NBA announced Thursday afternoon that Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard earned All-NBA honors for the second time in his four-year career.
That accomplishment has earned the point guard a raise in his 5-year max deal that will kick in starting next season via “The Derrick Rose Rule.”
Lillard made Second Team All-NBA alongside Chris Paul of the Clippers, DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings, Draymond Green of the Warriors and Kevin Durant of the Thunder.
Lillard was Third Team All-NBA in the 2013-14 season.
First Team includes Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, Cleveland’s LeBron James, San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard and DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers.
Third team includes Toronto guard Kyle Lowry, Golden State guard Klay Thompson, Pacers forward Paul George, Detroit’s Andre Drummond as well as Spurs forward and former Blazer LaMarcus Aldridge.
The Rose rule itself states that players who: A) win the MVP; B) are voted to start in the All-Star Game twice and/or; C) make an All-NBA team twice in their first seasons are eligible for a max deal worth 30 percent of the cap.
Those contracts were previously only available to players who have already signed a big contract extension in their careers and are on to their second or third big deal. This way, players who play like stars on their rookie deals aren’t punished.
However, Lillard’s Rose Rule is not like rule itself. Cap expert Danny LeRoux reported a while back that Lillard agreed to take 27.5 percent, citing the work of Eric Pincus for Basketball Insiders.
That’s a huge deal for the Blazers. Instead of triggering a raise of $20 million over the next five seasons that number comes down to about 12.
If that had stood at $20 million, along with the nearly $2 million per season they will spend stretching Anderson Varejao, it would have been worth about as much as a rotation player. Or, at the very least most of the money needed to get add another quality player.
It makes things tight for the Blazers, but it isn’t crippling and they have a lot of flexibility.
Lillard will now become the highest paid player in his draft class starting next season.
While Portland could have had more available cap space by waiting to extend Lillard until this summer, they did save a decent chunk of their future cap space by avoiding the all out Rose Rule deal.
It wasn’t the perfect execution of cap gymnastics, but all parties involved have to be pretty happy with how everything turned out.