To recruit or not to recruit, that seems to be the question on every Bulls fans' mind these days.
And while the saga of Derrick Rose telling Yahoo Sports he wouldn't recruit players to him showing up during free agent Carmelo Anthony's visit to the United Center has taken many turns, at least one of his teammates is in the former MVP's corner.
"It's up to him. I don't think just because you're the star of the team you have to recruit players," said Nazr Mohammed, who joined the SportsTalk Live panel on Tuesday. "He's the franchise player. You don't have to recruit; it's what you feel like you need to do to help the team."
Some argued that Rose's comments were taken out of context, while others claimed it just meant Rose wouldn't speak (or leak) publicly about players he desired to play with. And that was the tone Mohammed took, noting that Rose would certainly be an active recruiter if he ran into a free agent, which he did last week at the United Center. Just because reports don't surface about Rose being an active recruiter, Mohammed said, doesn't mean he's not trying to do what's best to help the Bulls win.
"It's one thing to recruit in the public eye, if you call Derrick or Derrick was in the position that he was, he's going to talk Bulls hes going to try to get guys to come play with them, hes going to tell them about the good things. he's not going to actively go out to say i want this guy, bring this guy here."
And sometimes recruiting can work against a team, said Mohammed. The unrestricted free agent, who seemed as though he'd like to remain in Chicago, recalled three years ago when he tried to recruit Shane Battier to join him in Oklahoma City to play for the Thunder. Almost a year later, Battier was helping the Miami Heat to a championship in five games over...you guessed it...the Oklahoma City Thunder. Mohammed said it was apparent Battier had remembered that recruiting pitch, and knew the Thunder had wanted him.
Anthony or not, much of the Bulls' future successes and failures will fall on Rose's health. He's played just 49 games the last three seasons and, if the Bulls want to contend in the East, Rose will need to regain the form that made him the NBA's MVP in 2011.
And while Mohammed can't predict the future on whether Rose will remain healthy, he and the rest of the Bulls are confident in their point guard.
"As a player you have no control over whether you're going to be healthy, whether some freak injury is going to happen so we know our confidence in how hard he works and how he prepares, and we feel like he does those things," he said. "And if he is healthy he's one of the best players in our league and probably the best point guard."