Now that Luol Deng (right) has been traded, the Bulls need Derrick Rose to… (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune )
Derrick Rose has made it clear he does not want to recruit free agents to help him win a championship with the Bulls. Even after his latest season-ending injury, he has not budged.
But now it appears the team is forcing Rose's hand.
Late Monday the team traded Luol Deng to Cleveland for the right to waive Andrew Bynum (cap space) and three draft picks. The team is trying to free up money to sign players. The team Rose knew will cease to exist.
The market more than ever dictates that the former MVP must get involved in recruiting. The NBA's new normal is keeping up with the Joneses or, in this case, the LeBrons. Rose might want to change his stance sooner rather than later.
The Bulls need secondary scoring in the worst way. A new player such as Nikola Mirotic or a free agent might be the team's go-to guy until the Bulls can further gauge the severity of Rose's injury.
Rose will either bounce back like Russell Westbrook did, or this could be the beginning of the end, a la Gilbert Arenas. No offense to Rose, but either way the team has to think about the bottom line.
Since Rose has some time off, maybe he can chat with Illinois coach John Groce.
Similar hands-off thinking had Illini basketball reeling from the local blue-chip prospects (including Rose) passing on Illinois in recent years. The Illini are on the upswing after shifting their approach, however. AAU is king now, so the Illini had to play ball. They got two players from the Chicago Public League and another is scheduled to join the team next season.
It seems like recruiting indeed works. Remember, John Calipari must have made a decent pitch for Rose to choose Memphis over Illinois.
It also seems like the Bulls ship will sail with or without Rose on it. Gar Forman and John Paxson's gigs are on the line, and they won't allow Rose to hold the team hostage. They have a job to do.
If Rose doesn't change his tune, he might be the next tough decision the team has to make.
Evan F. Moore is a RedEye special contributor.
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