This trade was long overdue (in my opinion, a year late). Derrick Rose was one of the top players in the NBA. The youngest ever to win a league MVP. A spectacular and talented player with the ball in his hands. A master at weaving through bodies and willing the ball into the hoop. That’s not the player the Chicago Bulls traded. Injury and perhaps attitude all but killed that player. Can he ever get back to that point? Perhaps. That is now the problem of the New York Knickerbockers.
Everything I heard about Rose during the last year or so, tells me he is playing for one more contract. Given his track record over the past 2 years, Rose has played far less games than he has missed due to a litany of injuries. We saw flashes in the 2015 NBA playoffs. The “flashes” were few and far between in the 2015-16 campaign. We saw at times the explosion, the closer. It wasn’t enough to get the Bulls into the 2016 playoffs for the first time since Rose joined the Bulls. It was definitely not all his fault.
Rumblings that Rose didn’t get along with Jimmy Butler didn’t help matters either. Butler seems to be “the guy” going forward. The one player management seems to want to build around with second year coach, Fred Hoiberg. Joakim Noah is more probable than not, going to leave via Free Agency, along with Pau Gasol.
The saddest part in all of this is, Derrick by all accounts is a good guy. A Chicago guy. He once had the fire in his belly that you believed would lead to multiple NBA championships. That fire diminished mainly due to multiple knee injuries. If Rose recovers that burning desire, and overcomes his past durability issues, he could lead the Knicks deep into the playoffs. Re-singing the former MVP will be a gamble though. Rose is well documented saying he was eyeing that next contract. My fear as a Bulls fan, was that he would put up a superstar year, then coast on it. That is not the problem of the Chicago Bulls any longer.
It will be interesting to see what the Bulls do now with the 2016 NBA draft coming up tomorrow night. They got a couple young players back from the Knicks, and have 21+ million dollars more to spend in Free Agency.
The biggest question is, can this management group put together another competitive team? Just a about a year and change ago, I would have said yes. Gar Forman and John Paxson rebuilt this team a few times around an injured Rose and were more competitive than anyone thought they would be. A lot of that was due to the new Minnesota Timberwolves coach, Tom Thibodeau and his tireless efforts.
Thibs is gone, Hoiberg is in, and that brings up a whole host of questions on it’s own. Can Butler/Hoiberg coexist? Can Butler lead a team? His leadership style had more than one veteran pushing back. All we can do as fans now is wait for the Draft and Free Agency to play out. To see what kind of team they put around Jimmy Butler, and to see if management can find players to perform in Hoiberg’s system.