The Chicago Bulls could pursue an upgrade at the point guard position in NBA free agency, and they might seek a reunion with former franchise icon Derrick Rose.
Rose was a major contributor for Tom Thibodeau’s New York Knicks after being acquired from the Detroit Pistons in February. He averaged 14.9 points and 4.2 assists in 35 games with the Knicks, shooting 48.7% from the field and 41.1% from beyond the arc. The 32-year-old was one of New York’s only dependable options in a first-round playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks, averaging 19.4 points and 5.0 assists.
Rose has a good bit of mileage on his body, and injuries have taken a toll through the years. Still, the Chicago native has more than proven his capabilities as a productive backcourt player at this stage of his career, and the Bulls could opt to bring him back home to the Windy City.
Derrick Rose was Chicago’s favorite son during his time with the Bulls
Derrick Rose is arguably the Bulls’ best player since Michael Jordan. If not the best, then certainly the most beloved.
Rose established his roots in Chicago. He starred at Simeon Academy before playing for John Calipari at Memphis University, where he would help lead the Tigers to the 2008 NCAA title game.
As fate would have it, the basketball gods granted the Bulls the No. 1 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft despite having just a 1.7% chance of landing the first overall selection in the lottery. Chicago drafted Rose, who quickly get the Bulls back on track.
Rose captured Rookie of the Year honors and led Chicago to consecutive playoff berths in his first two seasons. He emerged as one of the eminent superstars in the sport in just his third year, becoming the youngest league MVP in NBA history and leading the Bulls to the best record in basketball. That season marked the second in a string of three straight All-Star appearances.
A devastating run of knee injuries threatened to derail Rose’s career. He suffered the first of those injuries (a torn ACL) during the first game of the 2012 playoffs and missed the 2012-13 season. A torn meniscus then cost Rose all but 10 games during the 2013-14 campaign.
Pooh would return the following season and even helped the Bulls win a playoff series. Still, he was not the same dynamo he once was, and (with Chicago looking to build around Jimmy Butler) the team traded him to the New York Knicks after failing to make the playoffs during the 2015-16 season.
Five years later, the Bulls are interested in bringing the revitalized Rose back to where it all began.
Bulls are discussing the possibility of signing Rose
Chicago is desperate to add playmaking at the point guard position. At the very least, Rose is in their periphery as a guy they could add this offseason.
K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago reported that the Bulls front office has had “internal conversations on the viability and fit” of Rose related to the current roster.
Johnson labeled Rose a “secondary target,” and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said he is not at the “top” of Chicago’s offseason wish list. Still, it’s abundantly clear the Bulls are weighing Rose as an option.
Chicago could probably use more of a playmaker and facilitator at the point guard spot. That’s why, as Wojnarowski stated, the Bulls continue to express interest in Lonzo Ball.
However, Rose would be an interesting scoring complement to Zach LaVine because of his slashing ability and midrange game, as well as his propensity for making plays in pick-and-roll and drive-and-kick actions.
How will the Bulls plug the hole at the PG spot?
The Bulls appear to be grappling with both long- and short-term options at the point.
Signing Ball, a restricted free agent, would reflect the team’s desire to fill the point guard position with a player who can be a legitimate building block for the franchise. However, it’s also likely pursuing someone like Ball would be more expensive.
Rose, who will be 33 in October, would be more of a stopgap option. Still, signing him to a shorter and less lucrative deal would allow the Bulls to preserve current and future cap space.
The flower that grew from the concrete has picked itself time and again. Rose has remodeled his game, using savvy and quick bursts to get to his spots and make plays. Will that revamped style ultimately lead him back to Chicago? Time will tell.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.