Since the very day Derrick Rose was traded from the Chicago Bulls back in June of 2016, it seems the fanbase hasn’t stopped trying to create inventive ways to recapture that magic and bring the hometown hero back to the Windy City. Admittedly, I have also always held up hope a reunion was one day in the cards, but understood by and large that he was no longer the answer and this team needed to head in a new direction.
However, that may no longer be the case.
Now that Lonzo Ball is expected to miss at least the entirety of the 2023-24 season, the Bulls have once again found themselves in need of a floor general to run the show. While there are several talented guards on this roster such as Alex Caruso, Coby White, and Ayo Dosunmu, each of them have at least one distinct weakness that holds them back from becoming a true starting caliber point guard.
That’s why we now find ourselves coming full circle with the possibility of re-adding Rose to the lineup. On a team option for $15.6 million next season, the New York Knicks are expected to decline it and allow the veteran guard to hit free agency this summer.
Jordanna Clark over at Daily Knicks perfectly encapsulated this situation and explained why Rose will almost certainly hit free agency this summer:
"“Regardless of how much New York loves Rose, there isn’t a need to pay nearly $16 million to a player that isn’t going to be in the rotation. As bittersweet as it’ll be, all signs are pointing toward Rose’s time with the Knicks coming to an end soon. There is no way of knowing which team Rose will end up on if New York declines his option, which would allow for him to enter free agency. However, it wouldn’t be surprising if he were to end up where his career started in 2008.”"
After all this time, a reunion with Derrick Rose may actually make sense for the Chicago Bulls.
Rose is undoubtedly a better playmaker than any (healthy) guard on this Bulls roster, and is just as good if not better at creating his own offense as anyone not named Zach LaVine. If the Bulls were to bring him on, it would almost certainly be in a limited role, but he could still get the opportunity to start or close out games depending on matchups. This is how Chicago employed Patrick Beverley to great success this past season following the trade deadline.
“In my opinion, I think the Chicago Bulls make a ton of sense for Derrick Rose in free agency. It would be a nice homecoming for him towards the end of his career,” said HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, “We saw when he was back in town how beloved he is still by that fan base. They’ll be missing Lonzo Ball, and if they’re trying to compete and win, he’s an excellent bridge as a veteran mentor to some of the young guys on that roster, and I think he still has some gas left in the tank.”
Obviously, Derrick isn’t going to be the long-term solution here. But then again, who on this roster (or is readily available in free agency) would be? There simply isn’t one. This team is stuck in purgatory with no real moves to be made to become a contender, but is led by a front office that insists on winning now.
If Chicago is going to be a mediocre basketball team either way next season, then they could do far worse than bringing Rose back aboard for an appropriate send-off and to mentor the young talent on this team.
Had the Bulls lucked out in the lottery to draft a player like Scoot Henderson, or resisted making bad decisions like trading the farm for Nikola Vucevic, then I’d almost certainly be more inclined to trust the youth rather than running out the Derrick Rose Nostalgia Tour. But that’s unfortunately not how things played out, so perhaps we’re just better off making the best of a bad thing here.