Like many teams, the Chicago Bulls stood pat at Thursday's trade deadline, avoiding a cloudy financial future in the hopes that better, less risky opportunities will come along soon. Unlike other teams, the Bulls know they'll add an All-NBA player to their lineup by the beginning of next season. Whenever Derrick Rose returns from rehabilitating the torn ACL that has kept him out of this entire season, the Bulls will regain one of the league's top players.
The timing of Rose's return is still uncertain — all we really know is that he's participating in five-on-five drills in practices and will only play in games when he thinks he's absolutely ready. From all indications, Rose and the Bulls are on the same page.
However, on Thursday, one important member of Rose's camp expressed frustration with the Bulls' inactivity on the trade market. Reggie Rose, the star's brother and a very important advisor to his career and life, thinks the Bulls haven't tried hard enough to build a champion. From Scott Powers for ESPNChicago.com:
"What have you pieced together? Have you made any moves? Have you made any trades to get better? You know all roads to the championship lead through Miami," Reggie Rose told ESPNChicago.com. "What pieces have you put together for the physical playoffs?
"Joakim Noah is a great player. Luol Deng is a great player. But you need more than that. You have to put together pieces to your main piece. The players can only do so much. It's up to the organization to make them better."
The Bulls stood pat at Thursday's trade deadline.
"It's frustrating to see my brother play his heart and soul out for the team and them not put anything around him," Reggie Rose said. [...]
Reggie Rose said the Bulls have known all along Rose could sit out this season, but the organization hasn't mentioned it because it would affect ticket sales.
"Everyone is expecting Derrick to come back," Reggie Rose said. "If Derrick comes back, they're going to sell more tickets. Is the reason for Derrick to come back to win a championship or make money? Right now, I don't believe a championship. Everything in the NBA is financial."
The Bulls, for their part, aren't publicly expressing much concern with Rose's statements. Here's Tom Thibodeau, as quoted in the same article:
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was asked if Reggie Rose's comments could be disruptive to the team.
"Nah, not really," Thibodeau said before the Bulls hosted the Miami Heat. "Obviously Reggie and Derrick are very close. We share the same concerns about Derrick's health, so that's not anything new. So it's not a big deal. And Reggie's entitled to his own opinion."
Thibodeau said Reggie's comments did not put Derrick in an uncomfortable position.
"To me it's not a big deal," Thibodeau said. "We all want the same things. We want Derrick's health ... and obviously we're trying to pursue winning a championship. We share that in common. That's his opinion. He speaks for himself, not a big deal."
Oh, and Derrick Rose released a short statement claiming his commitment to the Bulls, with no reference to his brother's comments:
“I have always felt that the Bulls organization’s goals have been the same as mine and that is to bring another championship to this city.”
The Bulls might not be drawing attention to Rose's remarks in part because they're fairly easy to dismiss on logical grounds. If the Bulls are to add another All-Star-level player in a trade, they'll likely have to do so by trading power forward Carlos Boozer, who stands to make more than $45 million in salary over the next three seasons (including this one). Unfortunately for them, it appears as though Boozer and his contract just aren't very desirable. As one rumor indicated, the Bulls had the opportunity to trade Boozer to the Raptors for Andrea Bargnani, which likely wouldn't have solved many of their deficiencies.
With this roster, the Bulls are likely only going to add the All-Star Reggie Rose wants if they're willing to give up Luol Deng or Joakim Noah, the only two teammates Rose praised in his interview. That's simply the state of the NBA in this particular cap era. Teams don't want to go over the luxury tax, so their options tend to be limited. If the Bulls want to make a major deal, they're probably going to have to make some uncomfortable decisions.
[Also: Tony Parker for MVP? Naaah]
Plus, it's not particularly useful for the Bulls to make a major move when they don't know what they have in the rehabilitated Rose. While a single ACL tear is not the career-altering injury it was once, it figures that Rose will take some time to get back into the swing of an NBA season. Even if he eventually gets back to MVP form (which seems somewhat likely, although not certain), the Bulls will need a period of time to assess their new championship window. They can't plan on being one of the NBA's few contending teams right when he returns.
The problem for Chicago is that logic doesn't always win out over emotion in these situations. Reggie Rose isn't a random family member — he's the family's primary male leader and a huge reason for his brother's status as one of the most widely admired players in basketball. We have no evidence that Derrick Rose shares his brother's beliefs, but we do know that he will listen to what he has to say.
This situation isn't yet a crisis — it's just something that deserves attention. It's possible that the Bulls will continue to play second fiddle to the Miami Heat in the East, and that Rose will reassess his situation and tire of Tom Thibodeau's superhuman ability to turn limited talents into very useful role players. Even if that situation never happens (or is just a very long way off), respecting its possibility is an important part of managing a superstar in the contemporary NBA.
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