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Derrick Rose departs Chicago amid LeBron James’ sixth championship appearance
- Updated: June 23, 2016
Imagine how David Blatt Derrick Rose feels about LeBron James delivering an NBA championship to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers.
There’s no doubt the Simeon product had similar aspirations of bringing a title to Chicago after becoming the No. 1 overall pick in 2008 out of Memphis. Instead, he’s headed to the New York Knicks in a five-player deal.
James, like Rose, was also a No. 1 overall pick when the Cavs selected him in 2003.
Regardless of the team James played for, his teams always seemed to get the best of the Bulls come playoff time.
“The Chosen One” has ended Chicago’s season four times in his career: Twice with the Cavs in 2010 and 2015, and twice with the Heat in 2011 and 2013.
It’s telling how big of an alpha dog Rose became when he became the league’s youngest ever to win MVP at age 22 in 2011.
What’s more telling is a Sports Illustrated story said Rose’s recruiting efforts to bring James to Chicago in the 2010 offseason, “consisted of one text message, sent mainly for damage control. Rose remembers texting James, I’m just hitting you up to kill all the rumors that I don’t want to play with you. I’d like to play with you. I just want to win.”
Chicago already had Luol Deng, an All-Star in his own right, at the small forward position (remember this was before small-ball became prevalent throughout the league).
As teammate Joakim Noah told SI of Rose’s recruitment efforts to land James, “If you want to come here and be part of this, that’s cool. If not, we’re going to try to kick your ass.”
The mentality helped lead the Bulls to consecutive top overall seeds in the Eastern Conference in the 2011 and 2012 playoffs, but no one could have foreseen Rose’s injuries.
Although he might have robbed James of MVP due to voter fatigue, Rose’s production in the 2010-2011 season was remarkable when he led the Bulls to an NBA-best 62-20 record. That season Rose averaged 25.0 points and 7.7 assists to go along with 4.1 rebounds.
Rose’s MVP season ended in the Eastern Conference Finals in five games to the Miami Heat.
The next time Rose was healthy playing James in the playoffs, the Bulls took a 2-1 lead in the 2015 Eastern Conference Semifinals when Rose hit a game winning three-point shot at the buzzer. Yet again, James got the last laugh (it didn’t help Pau Gasol missed Game 4 and 5 in the series due to a hamstring injury). The Cavs won the series in six games.
Facing insurmountable odds, James just won his third NBA Finals and has appeared in the finals in six consecutive seasons. Rose, 27, was supposed to become James’ main adversary in the Eastern Conference.
Prior to his torn left anterior cruciate ligament injury in the opening round of the 2012 playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers, Rose signed two massive contracts:
- In December 2011, Rose signed a five-year $94.8 million contract with the Bulls.
- In February 2012, Rose signed a 14-year $260 million contract with Adidas.
A number of injuries derailed Rose in the 66-game shortened 2011-2012 season following the NBA lockout. He’s never really been the same since that season where he played 39 out of 66 regular season games, even prior the torn ACL against Philadelphia.
Before the 2011-2012 season Rose had 75 slam dunks in three seasons. Rose has 19 slam dunks in four seasons since, and he only had one in the 2015-2016 season.
Could the three-time NBA All-Star become the first NBA MVP in league history who won’t make the Hall of Fame? Rose’s has only one All-NBA selection was after his MVP season in 2011.
Can you blame Adidas for launching a full advertisement campaign behind Rose advocating for #TheReturn? The company isn’t the only one to blame for trying to rebrand Rose, who was once a dominant player.
Durability is an asset in today’s NBA, and Rose played in 132 of 328 games in the four seasons following his torn ACL in 2012. Despite the missed time, for a brief window the Bulls were a contender in the East.
With apologies to the efforts of Scott Skiles and the ‘Baby Bulls’ of the early 2000s, but Rose brought Chicago to its closest point of NBA title contention since the Jordan era. Perhaps expectations were too high for a dominant player still in his early to mid 20s.
Aside from his public perception and clashing with teammates, Rose needed a change of scenery. It’s especially true considering he’s owed more than $21 million for the upcoming season, the final of his five-year contract.
If Knicks head coach Jeff Hornaceck can turn Goran Dragić into an All-NBA guard, there’s a solid chance he can help revive Rose’s career.
@MVP_Melo think about what Hornacek did with Dragic
— NYK Information (@NYKinformation) June 23, 2016
Rose goes to a city with a great affinity for its point guards. However, the Knicks haven’t had an All-Star at the point guard position since Mark Jackson in 1989.
The Knicks still have nostalgia for its great teams led by Clyde Frazier in the 1970s, which was also the last time New York won an NBA championship.
One of Frazier’s teammates on the championship team was former Bulls coach and current Knicks president Phil Jackson.
Here’s to hoping Rose can stay on the floor where the lights shine brightest at Madison Square Garden in New York City.