LeBron James Was Recruited by Derrick Rose to the Chicago Bulls, but the Team Lied and Said He Wasn’t

During the summer of 2010, LeBron James was the most sought-after free agent in NBA history. He met with the Chicago Bulls, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Clippers.

Through an ESPN show called The Decision, LeBron announced he was signing with the Heat to create a lethal Big Three with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Cleveland Cavaliers fans were heartbroken after losing their hometown hero to Miami, while fans in Chicago and New York were devastated that the King wouldn’t be coming to their city.

The Bulls thought they had a good shot of landing LeBron since Wade was close to signing with his hometown team. Chicago point guard Derrick Rose was a rising star in the NBA, and the Bulls sold James on a Big Three comprised of him, Wade, and Rose.

In the end, LeBron and Wade teamed up on the Heat, while the Bulls signed Carlos Boozer. It’s worth mentioning, though, that Chicago not only lost James to Miami but also lied about Rose’s involvement in the recruiting process.

LeBron James and Derrick Rose met in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals

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Rose won the 2010-11 MVP Award over LeBron and Dwight Howard, becoming the youngest MVP in NBA history. He led the Bulls to the best record in the league (62-20) despite not having another All-Star teammate.

Meanwhile, LeBron, Wade, and Bosh won 58 games during their first year as teammates. The Heat defeated the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics to reach the Eastern Conference Finals, where they faced Rose and the Bulls.

Chicago won Game 1 of the series in blowout fashion. However, the Heat won the next four games to advance to the NBA Finals. Miami had too much firepower on offense, while the Bulls were too reliant on Rose.

LeBron and Rose didn’t have a close relationship, but they respected each other and were close to being teammates. Rose, a Chicago native, didn’t understand why the Bulls didn’t shoot down reports he wasn’t interested in recruiting James when he made a recruiting video in 2010.

LeBron was recruited by Rose, but the Bulls never acknowledged it

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In his autobiography, I’ll Show You, Rose — with the help of Hall of Fame writer Sam Smith — wrote that he didn’t quite understand why the Bulls didn’t shoot down media reports claiming he wasn’t interested in recruiting LeBron to the Bulls.

According to the three-time All-Star, he made a recruiting video for James.

“I did the LeBron recruiting for Chicago,” Rose wrote. “It was a day after practice, and Bron and Chris Bosh and all of them, we got word — everyone heard it around the league — they were together on one of those banana boat things and were about to team up somewhere. Gar Forman, our GM, came to me with the people from the office about putting a video together for Chris Bosh, D-Wade, and Bron. I didn’t fight it. I did the video. I’m sure Bron and those guys saw it. Then this story came out that I wasn’t big on recruiting. Should I have to say that I recruited? That’s where I’m coming from. It’s a lose-lose. I’m not comfortable saying I’m out there recruiting because I respect my teammates. Should players have to do that? It doesn’t seem right. When I saw the story was Derrick doesn’t want to recruit. I felt like, as my partner in this, the Bulls should have come out and said I’d done it. Like, ‘We got it. Chill. He cool.’ They didn’t.”

Rose received a lot of criticism from the media for not recruiting LeBron in 2010. However, it turns out he did try to get James to come to Chicago, and the Bulls never told the media.

LBJ and D-Rose were briefly teammates on the Cavs

LeBron, Rose, and Wade were briefly teammates during the 2017-18 season. However, the fit was awful, and the Cavs wound up trading Rose and Wade at the 2018 trade deadline.

After being out of the NBA for a little while, Rose has rejuvenated his career with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons, and New York Knicks. Meanwhile, LeBron is still dominating the NBA and remains the best all-around player in the league.