In so many ways I’ve come to despise the modern NBA star or middling player that parades up and down 94 feet as if he were a star. It’s the constant bitching to officials, stare downs after dunks (hey, Blake Griffin!), the self aggrandizing after the most remedial of plays or performances, the goal to out swag other players with a hideous sense of “style,” the loafing back on defense like someone tied an anchor to your back (oh, what’s up, Dwyane Wade?!), Dwight Howard, the patented waving off a teammate who has a mismatch to instead force up a contested 18 footer or the showboating after after making a big shot. Or as I like to call it, the J.R. Smith.
That’s why my two favorite players are Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant. Both are humble, competitive, great teammates, driven to succeed & possess a quiet confidence about themselves that is above forcing an image on people or making commercials to try and show the world how normal they are (like the LeBron Samsung atrocity that airs every other commercial break no matter what channel you have on).
But when it comes to Derrick Rose, there’s a side of him that many aren’t privy to.
Bulls fans have wondered for years… Why can’t the front office attract a superstar free agent to pair with the game’s best point guard? As it turns out, their inability to bring another star to the Bulls rests squarely on the shoulders of their best player.
According to a source that’s plugged in to the Chicago basketball scene (from high school to the NBA, and one I trust), stars ignore the Bulls because of Rose’s indifferent attitude towards them and refusal to recruit players to his team.
It all starts with Rose’s brothers shielding him and protecting him like they did when they were growing up in Englewood. Their story is inspiring, especially when you see the insane amount of killings going on in Chicago these days (484 homicides this year and counting). They have Derrick’s ear, obviously, and have have told him basically fuck these NBA guys because they’re all about themselves and winning is secondary to building their brand. So from the jump, Rose has been against recruiting the likes of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Dwight Howard as if they’re poisonous team killers. I get that thinking when it comes to Howard, but who wouldn’t want the best big man in the game on their team?
The word’s out and the entire league knows it.
If you remember back to the summer of 2010, there was a period during free agency when the Bulls thought they were getting both Wade & James. Bulls mouthpiece K.C. Johnson reported it, and I remember salivating at a tweet of his about the Bulls going for the two premier players in a stacked free agent class.
So what went wrong, and why did Wade end up getting James to Miami?
According to the source, Wade would have come to the Bulls and would have brought James with him. But Rose was lukewarm to the idea at best. During Rose’s MVP season after the Bulls beat the Heat in what turned out to be another meaningless regular season game, Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski (who is the best in the business) wrote how Rose didn’t want Wade here. He instead wanted Joe Johnson as his 2-guard. Let that sink in for a second…
You’re laughing hysterically, aren’t you? Apparently Rose was the one who didn’t dream of an all Chicago backcourt for two years.
You see, Rose doesn’t want anyone that will overshadow his kingdom or be on equal alpha dog status with him. That’s why he’s said he’ll “ride with Keith” when talking about former 2-guard bum Keith Bogans, or why he’ll openly recruit Kirk Hinrich’s carcass back. Oh, and don’t forget him welcoming Marco Belinelli to the squad.
If I was a star player and my front office signed those two barely functioning corpses, I’d go all Kobe when the Lakers refused to trade Andrew Bynum for Jason Kidd. You remember the Kobe Video, right? “Man, they need to fuckin’ ship his ass out.” That’s still the funniest thing Bryant’s ever said.
Wojnarowski has also written that the Bulls front office begged Rose to call James during free agency. The message to Rose was James doesn’t think you want him here. How did a tepid Rose respond? With a text message that probably turned James off on the idea of ever coming to the Bulls.
As for Howard? Rose had plenty of opportunities to recruit his Adidas teammate, but there’s a reason Howard wouldn’t even put the Bulls on his list during his obnoxious yearlong trade demand. Don’t forget, former Magic G.M. Otis Smith liked the players & picks the Bulls could offer over the Nets, Lakers or anyone else.
Every star knows the Bulls are Rose’s show and that he isn’t about to share his city with another top flight superstar. At least that’s the perception, and perception is everything in the NBA. You can blame GarPax for refusing to part with their precious “core” over the years, but they put themselves in position to land two of the association’s best players in July of ’10. And, of course, they had the assets to make a play for Howard last year, but #1 put it on Howard to declare he wanted Chicago.
You remember Rose’s disgusted stare at James & Howard during the introductions at the All-Star game last year, right? It wasn’t about those two dancing. Never was.
You don’t win NBA championships alone, and it’s possible the ACL injury will give Rose a different perspective on how to go about winning a title and give him a glimpse into his own mortality. Up to this point, he’s been reluctant to recruit anyone who can approach his stature/celebrity in his own city (which is bullshit, but whatever), and it will be interesting to see how he goes about his business if Kevin Love and/or LaMarcus Aldridge become available.
Derrick Rose is everything you want in a franchise player. In an era when guys sign 3-year deals to ensure future free agency, Rose gave his full commitment to the Bulls. It’s admirable, but he needs to realize the game has changed. It’s one thing to be a Jordan like competitor, but it’s another to have a LeBron death wish every spring. We’ll never know what a Rose-James-Wade Bulls team would have looked like, but I’d bet good money they’d be going for the franchise’s third 3-Peat right now.
Rose has 1 objective. It’s to win NBA titles, but on his terms where he’s the unquestioned king of his team. He wants to be thee reason (just like Mike) that another banner is raised at the U.C. That’s his #1 objective above everything else. He can talk about dying on the court and rehabbing his knee & coming back for his city, but it has to be in his vision. It’s ballsy, it’s old school, it’s stupidly impressive, but it’s never happening if he refuses to allow someone else to approach his Chicago throne.