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Derrick Rose’s $250M Adidas deal raises questions

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Updated: March 27, 2012 8:30AM

ORLANDO, Fla. — After all these years, it’s still “gotta be the shoes.’’

And Spike Lee’s “Mars Blackmon’’ character from the Air Jordan commercials in the 1980s wasn’t even the one mumbling it Saturday.

Instead, there were concerns around the NBA after it was reported that Bulls guard Derrick Rose signed a 14-year, $250 million deal with Adidas.

The subject made its way to the commissioner’s office and had to be discussed publicly. The concern is that larger-market teams could use shoe companies to lure free agents or keep current players in town.

Parity has been a hot topic in the NBA, especially since LeBron James and Chris Bosh headed to Miami before last season in an attempt to build a dynasty.

The worry is big-market teams in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago getting around a new, harsher luxury tax by paying less for players but getting help from shoe companies to attract them.

Deputy commissioner Adam Silver shot that down, insisting the league has looked into the matter and is confident that was not being practiced.

“Ultimately, we don’t have jurisdiction over shoe companies,’’ Silver said, “but we have looked into it, and we have been assured by the two major shoe companies in the league that the incentives they build into the contracts are based on winning as opposed to market size.”

Not that it would change the fact that Rose jumped to an even higher tax bracket, if that was even possible.

“It’s a blessing, man,” Rose said of his new deal before practice for the All-Star Game on Sunday. “Definitely a blessing. [Adidas has] been with me, they stuck with me from the beginning, and I’m happy that I’m a part of them for the rest of my life.’’

Coincidentally, Magic star Dwight Howard also has been one of the major faces that Adidas is backing, but Rose has insisted that the Adidas link doesn’t mean that he and Howard are looking to become teammates on the court, as well.

“It’s great, man,” Rose said. “We’ve been trying to get it out of the way for a long time. I just remember them bringing it up to me, and I couldn’t really think about the amount. I’m just blessed and feel grateful right now.

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