Chicago Bulls

Rose stays positive with postseason approaching

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Rose stays positive with postseason approaching

CHARLOTTE "Story of my life," lamented Derrick Rose. "Just getting treatment, waking up at 9 every day. Turned myself into a morning person."

Notorious for being a late riser, Rose has had to suck it up this season in order to get therapy on his litany of injuries. The 23-year-old has missed five games each due to turf toe and lower back spasms, another 12 because of a strained right groin, one because of a sprained right ankle and will miss his second consecutive contest with a sore right foot, his 25th of the condensed campaign, Wednesday night.

From speculation that his body is breaking down early in his young career to whispers that hes soft not from anyone whos around him on a regular basis, but observers still convinced the Bulls failure to get past Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals last spring meant the All-Star point guard was undeserving of regular-season MVP honors no one seems to chalk up his ailments to, as his coach, Tom Thibodeau would say, misfortune.

Whatever the negative reasoning for his injury-plagued season, Rose doesnt want to hear any of it and instead of buying into the sky-is-falling theories most observers have with the postseason approaching and his body still not 100 percent healthy, he remains defiant that things will sort themselves out.

Im not thinking that way. I think if you put things into the universe, they come true. Im just trying to stay focused, staying happy, staying positive, keeping my spirits up and hopefully Ill be healthy in the playoffs. I rested almost a whole year with injuries. Definitely hurting me, not being able to play right now, but my health is a concern right now, said Rose, who attributes his injuries to the condensed schedule, something thats afflicted numerous role players and his superstar peers alike, such as Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade. Think about it: Thats the only that changed. The way I work out is usually the same, even though I ran more than I did in the past. I really dont know what to blame it on. Its just like a freak accident, freak injuries. It just happened.

Its been hard a little bit. I cant lie. Missing all these games, just playing against great competition. Just playing the game, period. Being out there with my teammates, practicing with my teammates. Trying not to distance myself from them by me not playing. Just staying around. Trying to stay positive, talking to them. Its definitely been hard, but theyve been doing a great job of making me feel like Im part of the team. Talking to me, calling me, eating with one another. Just making me feel good and I think thats raising my spirits up a little bit, too, continued the reigning league MVP, who acknowledged that hes been more short-tempered than usual this campaign he bristled at the flagrant foul delivered by Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva, which caused a cut over the bridge of his nose, in the Bulls overtime win Sunday at Detroit and didnt dissuade the notion that frustration from his long absences have fueled his increasingly short fuse. Probably so. Its hard, man. For someone to not miss more than what, seven, 10 games in a year, to miss 20-something, 30-something games. It hurts, man. Especially when something that you love the most and one of the things that you love most, playing this game, is taken away from you because of health-wise and it hurts a little bit, but I started thinking about the things that Im grateful for and Im still blessed.

But Rose, as disappointed as hes been to not be battling alongside his close-knit squad, doesnt feel any resentment from his supporting cast and reiterated that hell make a return to the court sooner than later, which would put the Bulls with their league-best record and relative success without the superstar, not to mention another season to mature, further jell and the addition of an experienced backcourt scorer in Rip Hamilton, whos finally healthy and showing flashes of why his acquisition was so well-regarded back in December in position to be favorites to come out of the East.

I wouldnt say that. They know we have a couple games to close out the season. Of course I would want to come back as soon as possible just to get my rhythm going, but playoffs are the playoffs and my biggest thing is my health right now, and just getting me healthy, I should be able to iron out the rest, he stated. I would want to play as soon as possible. I would say tonight, tomorrow. It really doesnt matter. I just want to get out there, man. I miss the game and hopefully youll see me out there soon.

NBA economic reality could speed up Bulls rebuild

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USA TODAY

NBA economic reality could speed up Bulls rebuild

In case you missed it this morning, ESPN's Tim McMahon and Bobby Marks collaborated on an excellent piece detailing how the irresponsible spending by NBA teams last summer could impact a star-studded free agent class in 2018.

Which is music to the ears of Bulls' front office executives John Paxson and Gar Forman, who are hoping to be a major player on the free agent market next year.

The ESPN report projected only nine teams having cap space to bid on a free agent class that could include Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins, Chris Paul, Isaiah Thomas, Carmelo Anthony, DeAndre Jordan, LaMarcus Aldridge, Avery Bradley, Brook Lopez, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Wilson Chandler, Danny Green, Enes Kanter and Greg Monroe, along with restricted free agents like Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Gary Harris, Jusuf Nurkic, Marcus Smart, Rodney Hood, Julius Randle, Dante Exum, Aaron Gordon and Clint Capela.

Bad summer not to have any spending money.

But that's exactly what Paxson and Forman were anticipating when they chose not to get involved in the reckless spending triggered by the league's new TV deal last summer. We all know about some of the terrible contracts handed out including a four-year, $72 million deal to Joakim Noah, four years, $64 million for Timofey Mozgov and Portland spending almost $150 million to lock up reserves Allen Crabbe and Evan Turner for four years.

The Bulls signed Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo and Isaiah Canaan last summer, but avoided any salary commitment beyond two years. Both Rondo and Canaan were bought out of the team options the Bulls held for next season.

Meanwhile, the Trail Blazers are now in such a deep luxury tax hole that they basically gave Crabbe away in a trade with Brooklyn earlier this week, immediately waiving the player they got back, power forward Andrew Nicholson, under the league's stretch provision. Portland figures to be one of at least 10 teams paying the luxury tax for the 2018-19 season.

I know what many of you are thinking, "Why will 2018 free agency be any different than in years past?" Yes, the Bulls missed out on primary targets James, Wade and Chris Bosh in 2010, and they failed to land Anthony in 2014. But with so many teams capped out, the Bulls will face less competition in pursuing the players they want most next summer.

We've all heard the rumors about James wanting to finish his career in L.A., and it's unlikely Durant, Westbrook, George or Paul would have any interest in coming to Chicago. But the Bulls could get significantly better right away in a weakened Eastern Conference by adding one or two players from a list of unrestricted free agents that could be looking for a new situation, including Cousins, Jordan, Bradley, Thomas, Caldwell-Pope, Kanter, Chandler and Green. They also could use their cap space to make a massive cap offer to a restricted free agent whose team is already in the luxury tax.

Of course, the Bulls have decisions to make with their own roster as well. They still haven't re-signed Niko Mirotic, and any contract beyond one season will reduce their cap space next summer. Plus, the key player coming back in the Jimmy Butler deal, shooting guard Zach LaVine, will be a restricted free agent next summer, and if he comes back 100 percent from ACL surgery, could command a multi-year contract starting at $20 million or more.

The Bulls have contract options on the rookie deals of Bobby Portis, Kris Dunn, Cam Payne, Jerian Grant, Denzel Valentine and Lauri Markkanen, while Paul Zipser's $1.5 million salary is not guaranteed for 2018-19.

Paxson said the Bulls are committed to re-building through the draft, and the hope is they'll wind up with a top 3 pick after next year's lottery to grab a franchise changing talent like Missouri's Michael Porter, Jr., International star Luka Doncic and 7-footers DeAndre Ayton of Arizona and Mohamed Bamba of Texas.

Looking at the big picture, if LaVine comes back 100 percent, Dunn emerges as a legit starting point guard and Markkanen shows potential as a stretch 4, the Bulls rebuild could move quickly. Adding one of the top players in next year's draft would be the first step, then Paxson and Forman would be armed with somewhere between $40-50 million dollars in cap space to pursue an impact free agent or two.

Bulls fans remember how long it took to re-build the team after the end of the Jordan era in 1998. Jerry Krause couldn't land a major free agent, and the Tyson Chandler-Eddy Curry experiment failed badly.

Let's hope Paxson and Forman have more luck this time around. At least they'll have a built-in advantage when the 2018 free agent market opens for business next July with the Bulls projected to have more cap space available than any other team in the league.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Why Bulls fans should not feel like they 'missed out' on trading for Kyrie Irving

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Bulls Talk Podcast: Why Bulls fans should not feel like they 'missed out' on trading for Kyrie Irving

On the latest Bulls Talk Podcast, Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, and Kevin Anderson break down the Kyrie Irving trade rumors, Derrick Rose’s move to Cleveland, and Kendall’s appearance in the ‘Big 3’.

Kendall shares what it was like when he wanted out of Charlotte, and how Rose to the Cavs only works if Kyrie is gone.

The trio also explains why Bulls fans should not feel like they ‘missed out’ on trading for Irving. Plus behind-the-scenes of KG’s hometown return to the court.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: