The Chicago Bulls losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoff semifinals may have brought an end to their season, but the series loss proved the Bulls’ former MVP point guard can still stay healthy enough to sparkle in the postseason. It was the first postseason since 2011 where the Bulls managed to keep Derrick Rose from getting injured and leaving early, or not even appearing.
Derrick Rose gave Bleacher Report his outlook after Chicago’s disappointing Game 6 loss to the Cavs last Thursday.
“I always look at it as me stepping on the floor and just me walking off the floor as a positive. I’m just happy with how my body responded when I came back. I’m happy with everything I learned this year, everything I went through individually, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I’m good. I’m at peace with myself. Of course I’m mad we lost this game and we’re out the playoffs, but it gave me a chance to really go into the summer with a game plan.”
With a healthy team, Chicago has a lot to look forward to next season. With all their guys on the floor feeling their best, few teams could stand in the way of a Bulls NBA Finals appearance. But that’s unlikely, and the Bulls’ coach may leave this year or next. His differences with the Chicago management have put him in a tough spot.
NBC Sports reflected on the lingering issues of Coach Thibodeau’s future in Chicago.
“The process of separation may be long and messy. Thibodeau’s clashes with management, over issues of minutes and rest, are at such a fundamental level that it’s hard to imagine either side budging much. Thibodeau has two more years on his contract. It’s highly unlikely that the Bulls will fire him outright. Not when they could potentially get something in return from a suitor.”
Despite the veteran coach’s difficulties, the Chicago players are sympathetic to his efforts. He may not be able to impress management if the current team lineup sticks. If he ends up leaving Chicago a bit earlier, it’s not likely he’ll have a hard time finding another team to coach. Any of the NBA’s younger teams looking to bolster their defensive play should scoop him up.
If the Bulls and Coach Thibodeau are to survive and enter next season in one piece, then Thibodeau, Rose, and Jimmy Butler are going to have to bring the Chicago Bulls nearer to their 2011 performance levels.
[Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]