LAS VEGAS—As the Bulls’ franchise player, Derrick Rose’s opinion matters and with his media silence since last winter, his take on the organization’s offseason and the team's potential moves spoke volumes.
“I think we have a contender. I wouldn’t say—they were saying something about putting us at the top of the East or whatever. We have a contending team. We know as a team, what we’re trying to do. We all have one goal and individually, this whole summer, I think everybody worked on their game. Everybody’s trying to compete for that title next year,” he said after the first day of practice at USA Basketball’s training camp for the upcoming FIBA World Cup. “I just know we’re going to be somewhere up there. I don’t know what place or whatever, but I know we’re going to be a contender.”
Rose was positive about the Bulls’ new additions, chiefly veteran big man Pau Gasol.
“Great. When you think about Gasol, him winning championships and bringing that experience to our team, and him being around our bigs, like Joakim. Talking to them, giving them advice—like come on, that’s all we needed,” he said. “You add Aaron Brooks, you add Jimmy coming in all in the mix, so many people, [Doug] McDermott—I think we’ll be a contender, a strong contender.”
Regarding the Bulls’ failed pursuit of Carmelo Anthony in free agency, Rose revealed both his message to the superstar small forward during the scorer’s visit to Chicago in early July, as well as his feelings about the decision to remain in New York.
“[Rose’s message to Anthony was] that if he was to come, that the game would be easy—I don’t know how easy, but of course it would be easy—and that we wanted him, just plain and simple. We wanted him to come. He was happy to go somewhere else, but it’s no hard feelings. I can’t get mad at the decision he made. He’s a grown man,” he said. ““I mean, who wouldn’t be disappointed? Of course, but at the same time, you can’t get mad with the decision he made. If you put yourself in that position, that’s a hard decision, you know? You’ve got your family to think about, you’ve got money to think about. Not to say that you shouldn’t think about money, but when you’re talking about millions and millions of dollars, you can’t just put that behind you. I’m not mad with the decision he made and I wish him nothing but the best.”
As far as rumors regarding the Bulls’ interest in trading for his friend and offseason workout partner Kevin Love, Rose downplayed the topic, saying, “I can’t think about that right now. That’s up to the front office. I’m riding with whatever decision they make, and my job right now is to prepare for this and just try to get my body healthy.”