Derrick Rose is no longer a member of the Chicago Bulls and it is a bittersweet feeling. Upon hearing that the Bulls traded Derrick Rose (courtesy of the Chicago Tribune) to the New York Knicks, the thought that comes to mind is the Rose era was a pure case unfulfilled expectations.
Some people in Chicago are experiencing sadness. Others are feeling glee. There are even people who are so upset that they have burned some of their Chicago Bulls memorabilia. It is easy to say that Derrick Rose, once beloved by all, has become a polarizing figure in the city of Chicago. That was not the case when the Bulls drafted him eight years ago in the 2008 NBA Draft.
Rarely does a team enter the NBA Draft Lottery with 1.7 percent chance of getting the first overall pick, only to exit with the prize. It was the Bulls who were lucky as the ping pong balls bounced their way. Much like this season, where there are two top-level prospects, Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram in the draft, the choices were Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley in 2008.
The Bulls’ decision seemed like an easy one. Derrick Rose, a local player, who played his high school ball at Simeon Career Academy.
Fans joined together to watch Derrick Rose whenever they could. They packed the United Center in 2006 to watch Rose lead Simeon to the City Championship. It was just two years prior when many of those same fans saw Derrick Rose win the championship with his junior varsity team. That year, Simeon would defeat Lindblom High School.
Watching Derrick Rose take over the game, fans knew that he would be something special. They watched Rose take the Memphis Tigers to the NCAA Championship game, where they would lose to the Kansas Jayhawks, largely because of missed free throws down the stretch.
Months later, those fans who followed Derrick Rose witnessed him put on his Chicago Bulls’ jersey. They would be treated to a first-year performance by Rose that earned him the NBA Rookie of the Year honors. Not so long after that, he would be hoisting the league MVP trophy.
There is one thing missing on Derrick Rose’s basketball resume — an NBA title. Rose was the catalyst for a Chicago Bulls team which finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference twice. During the times that the Bulls were not in first, it was due to Rose being out with knee injuries. In fact, the unfulfilled expectations are due to his knee injuries. Getting traded to the Knicks leaves mixed emotions, perhaps empty feelings.
In retrospect, it was time for Derrick Rose to begin his next chapter someplace else. Judging from his words at Bulls’ media day last summer, Rose sounded like a player who wanted to leave.
“It’s here [his nearing free agency status], but when you talk about that much money, the only thing you can do is prepare for it, trying to prepare not only myself but my family. I’m doing all of this for my son. I’m thinking about his future even though we’re all right, we’re comfortable. When you talk about that ‘X’ amount of dollars, I think it raises everyone’s eyebrows. It’s nothing wrong with being over-prepared.”
The Bulls had to be over-prepared also. So they made the decision to move forward without him. Making that choice potentially saves the Bulls from losing Derrick Rose for nothing in 2017. The players they got for Rose, Jerian Grant, Robin Lopez and Jose Calderon all bring something to the table. As long as the sum of their parts equal out, or wind up a better fit for the Bulls, the fans who have followed Derrick Rose his entire basketball career will slowly make their peace.
What helps in that process is understanding that the Derrick Rose that is leaving the Chicago Bulls is not the same player who came. Rose is a slower version of what he once was. Bulls fans who marveled over his whirling moves that would get him to the basket must realize those moments were few and far between in recent years. It will be on display at times for the Knicks. No one one should expect to see MVP Derrick Rose, three serious knee injuries removed.
That does not mean the city of Chicago should deny him of any admiration. Derrick Rose lifted the Bulls from the dregs of the Eastern Conference basement. That is deserving of the fans respect and love. Time moves forward. And it was time for Derrick Rose to get a fresh start. After the having the burden of putting his hometown team on his shoulders in an effort to take them to the promise land, Rose deserves an opportunity just to play basketball. It should not matter if he is wearing a Chicago Bulls’ jersey or a New York Knicks’, fans can still adore him. It is okay to multitask your rooting interest when it comes to sports.
Derrick Rose now plays for the New York Knicks, and somehow that should be okay. It is fine to be upset with the Chicago Bulls, just as much as having the ability to celebrate the move. But if it is about Derrick Rose, and you are a fan of his, be satisfied that he still gets to do what he loves to do. Be objective with your thoughts. Sadly, it still feels like unfulfilled expectations.
[Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]