derrick rose-chicago bulls-2018 free agency

Chicago Bulls should resist temptation of Derrick Rose reunion

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Social media can be a great tool for engagement, but Wednesday was one of those days that makes you hate its power. Kendall Gill, who serves as NBC Sports Chicago’s pre and post-game analyst for the Chicago Bulls, tweeted a picture of Derrick Rose training at the Bulls’ team facility and lobbied for him to be signed.

That got everyone into a tizzy, and the discussion continued well into Thursday morning on Twitter. Unsurprisingly, the reaction was split between two camps: those who want him back and those content with continuing to move on.

So could Rose and his former team be considering a reunion this summer? The answer is most likely “no,” and Bulls fans should stop dreaming of any potential return immediately.

First off, Rose’s presence at the Advocate Center is making a mountain out of a molehill. It’s common for NBA players to work out or shoot around at different team’s facilities throughout the offseason, especially if there are locations near or in their hometowns.

Second, the Bulls have no use for Rose. Yes, he was impressive coming off the bench this postseason for the Minnesota Timberwolves, and it will earn him another contract with some team in the league.

But the 2018-19 season is going to be about growing the young roster. The core of Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, and Lauri Markkanen need to develop chemistry, and other young role players are going to need minutes for the team to see if they fit going forward. Bringing on a veteran point guard, who turns 30 in November, doesn’t serve a purpose.

derrick rose-chicago bulls-goran dragic-2016 season
Apr 7, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose (1) shoots the ball as Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) defends during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Still, you never know what the Bulls are actually thinking. This was a team that once vowed to “get younger and more athletic” but then signed veterans in their 30s almost a month later. Not to mention, Jerry Reinsdorf has been known to be overly loyal and nostalgic with both teams he owns.

There’s some temptation in bringing in Rose. Having a homegrown player back with the team who picked him No. 1 overall creates a warm-and-fuzzy feeling. The casual fans will enjoy dusting off those old jerseys and cheering him when he takes the court.

But if John Paxson and Gar Forman are honestly considering bringing back Rose, they deserve an ultimate face slapping. Of all the people involved in this rebuilding plan, they’re the ones who can’t afford to take their eyes off the road.

No one is denying what Rose meant to the franchise, and he’ll always be viewed as an icon during his brief yet impactful career. Prior to his career-derailing ACL injury, he was Rookie of the Year, MVP, a three-time All-Star and All-NBA first team once before the age of 24. And being a local standout on the city’s South Side at Simeon Career Academy certainly helped his popularity.

However, there’s no use getting wrapped up in nostalgia. Sure, absence makes the heart grow fonder, which is why some fans can’t help but get caught up in the memorable moments Rose created. But the last few seasons were not only marred by injuries but also decline in play.

Rose’s stats and efficiency numbers took a steady nosedive following his ACL injury in the 2012 playoffs. Considering he was trending upward, that injury and the nagging ones that followed had a significant role in his decline.

Season Team Games / Starts Points Per Game Assists Per Game Field Goal Percentage 3-Point Percentage Efficiency Rating (rank)
2008-09 Chicago 81 / 80 16.8 6.3 47.5% 22.2% 16.05 (107th)
2009-10 Chicago 78 / 78 20.8 6.0 48.9% 26.7% 18.69 (47th)
2010-11 Chicago 81 / 81 25.0 7.7 44.5% 33.2% 23.62 (10th)
2011-12 Chicago 39 / 39 21.8 7.9 43.5% 31.2% 23.10 (10th)
2013-14 Chicago 10 / 10 15.9 4.3 35.4% 34.0% 9.82 (357th)
2014-15 Chicago 51 / 51 17.7 4.9 40.5% 28.0% 15.94 (126th)
2015-16 Chicago 66 /66 16.4 4.7 42.7% 29.3% 13.52 (231st)
2016-17 New York 64 / 64 18.0 4.4 47.1% 21.7% 17.09 (98th)
2017-18 Clev-Minn 25 / 9 8.4 1.5 43.5% 23.3% 11.53 (325th)

*Rose missed entire 2012-13 season with ACL injury. All-Star seasons were in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Off the court, there was also plenty of drama. He and his camp would butt heads with the organization over a myriad of details, ranging from free agency recruiting to medical clearance.

Bringing in any toxicity, even if it’s unintentional, could be detrimental for a mostly young and impressionable group. Based on his comments just a couple of months ago, he’s probably not interested in being any sort of mentor. He still has supreme confidence that he can still be a meaningful player, no matter how crazy that seems to the rest of us.

Do fans honestly believe that Rose would be okay with not getting meaningful minutes? Even worse, would his brother Reggie and agent B.J. Armstrong be content? Given their past issues with the franchise, it’s highly unlikely.

Again, all of this is pie-in-the-sky stuff based on a harmless tweet. But before some fans get too worked up at even the idea of a Rose reunion, just remember that some things are best left in the past.

And for the Bulls, Rose should remain a memory.

Matt graduated with a Bachelor's degree of journalism from DePaul University in 2011 and currently works in the digital marketing world as a content manager. He's been a Chicago sports fan and almanac since childhood, and he has explainable superstitions leading up to Bears games. Aside from sports, Matt also shares a deep love for family, friends, faith, theater and creative writing.