Derrick Rose re-captured the hearts of basketball fans everywhere this year courtesy of a Renaissance season with the Minnesota Timberwolves that saw the former MVP score a career-high 50 points in an emotional performance.
Rose was so impressive in the first half of the season that he was even one of the leading vote-getters to reach the All-Star Game at one point, but he ended up missing out on the event.
With Rose headed for free agency this summer, he will probably have some suitors that will take an interest in bringing him on as a microwave scorer off the bench, so that begs the question: should the Chicago Bulls explore a reunion with Rose?
The last time we saw Rose in Chicago, things weren’t exactly going too well for the point guard.
As a result of a plethora of knee injuries that afflicted Rose from 2012 through 2014, the three-time All-Star was barely even a shell of himself during his final season with the Bulls during the 2015-16 campaign.
Gone was the unparalleled quickness. Gone was the incredible explosiveness. Gone was the sheer dominance that marked his 2010-11 season when he averaged 25 points per game en route to winning the league’s Most Valuable Player award.
Instead, what we saw was a hobbled former star who couldn’t shoot, couldn’t defend and could no longer blow by defenders with the type of regularity he once did several years prior.
Derrick Rose had gone from being Chicago’s best player to a complete liability, a guy whom the Bulls actually seemed better off without.
That was why Chicago cut the cord with Rose that ensuing summer, trading him to the New York Knicks in an uneventful deal that landed the Bulls Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant.
While Rose certainly looked better in his one season in New York than he did in Chicago, registering 18 points per game while shooting a solid 47.1 percent from the floor, he still could not throw the ball into the ocean from behind the three-point line, and his stunted floor vision that he was able to compensate for earlier in his career was becoming more and more glaring.
Rose then quietly signed a one-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers during the summer of 2017, but he ended up playing in just 16 games for the Cavaliers as a result of ankle injuries and due to Rose pondering his NBA future in general, as he stepped away from the game for a bit.
He was then dealt to the Utah Jazz at the trade deadline, but was immediately dumped by the Jazz. Rose would ultimately sign with the Timberwolves, reuniting with his former Bulls head coach, Tom Thibodeau.
No one expected much of anything from the 30-year-old this season, but Rose was actually very solid, recording 18 points and 4.3 assists per game while shooting 48.2 percent from the floor, 37 percent from three-point range and 85.6 percent from the free-throw line.
Albeit, Rose only played in 51 games and did most of his damage over the first two months of the season before coming back down to earth, but this was by far the best Rose had looked since tearing his ACL back in 2012, and it definitely opened up some eyes across the league.
So, let’s go back to the original question: should the Bulls seriously consider bringing their former hometown hero back?
Obviously, Chicago is in all-out rebuilding mode right now with young guys like Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, Wendell Carter and Lauri Markkanen actually comprising a decent stable of young talent.
Would there be room for Rose, then?
The thing is, contenders may be a bit iffy about adding Rose to their roster this offseason. Yes, he looked great from October through December, but afterward, he looked a lot more like the player we saw from 2013 through 2017 than the 2011 version.
That could mean Derrick Rose may find himself at the mercy of the free-agent market and might have to settle playing for a team that is not trying to win a championship right away.
You would imagine, then, that Rose would fully embrace the idea of returning to his roots and going back to the Windy City in which he grew up. And for the Bulls? The fans would love it; that’s for sure. Ticket sales do mean something, and Rose would put fannies in seats.
But what about the effect that Rose would have on the growth of the team? Could he potentially stunt the development of the Bulls’ young guards? Would his ball-dominant ways make life more difficult for the young bigs?
These are all questions Chicago would have to consider if the franchise does, indeed, think about bringing Rose back for another run.
My take? I don’t think it would be all that harmful.
If anything, Rose could serve as a veteran mentor for LaVine and Dunn. As crazy as it sounds, Derrick Rose would be the elder statesman in that locker room, and he does seem to be very well-liked by other players around the NBA, so perhaps he could have a positive impact on the youthful Bulls?
It’s not like Chicago will be playing for anything other than draft positioning next season anyway, so bringing Rose aboard to satisfy the fans and to fill the role of a veteran leader could end up paying dividends.
This seems like too perfect of a scenario, but you know what? It’s one that stands a decent possibility of occurring.