NBA AM: Rose Isn’t Getting Traded… For Now

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Rose Isn’t Getting Traded… For Now

Last week on SportsCenter, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst commented that “the Derrick Rose breakup with the Chicago Bulls has begun,” which sent the blogosphere and Twitterverse into a tizzy about the future of the team’s oft-injured former MVP.

There are, of course, a couple of different ways to interpret a comment like that. Based on the sheer volume of Twitter questions inquiring about the best trade destination for Rose, it looks like fans believe the end of this marriage is coming rather soon.

The reality, however, is that it likely isn’t. That isn’t to say that Rose might not eventually play for another team, but the beginning of the end is by no means the actual end, and right now the Bulls have almost nothing to gain by seriously exploring a swap.

For starters, members of the Chicago front office have in the recent past said that Rose is still a big part of their future, and despite what Windhorst said about Rose’s attitude being a distraction, the players in the locker room – including Jimmy Butler – don’t have a problem with their starting point guard. He occasionally surprises them with some of the things he chooses to discuss publicly, but he hasn’t earned himself any nemeses on that roster. In terms of mutual respect and professionalism, Chicago continues to maintain one of the most cohesive locker rooms in the league. That isn’t a problem, let alone grounds for trade.

Even if Gar Forman wanted to trade Rose, it would be close to impossible to return fair market value for a comeback player and former All-Star making in the neighborhood of $40 million between this year and next. Teams aren’t trading their own $20 million All-Stars to acquire Rose and his menagerie of damaged ligaments, and Chicago has no interest in returning a platter of middling role players thrown in just to make the numbers line up.

It’s possible such an offer could also include a draft pick and/or a promising young prospect, but it’s not likely. Rose would have to prove himself healthy over the course of a full season to make that kind of deal feasible for interested teams, but once again that puts any potential breakup between player and team quite a ways down the road.

If by 2016-17 it becomes clear that Rose really isn’t interested in returning to the team, Chicago might then seriously explore the idea of moving him, perhaps even at a bargain, if only to return as much compensation as possible for an asset thinking seriously about free agency. (And almost two years before actually becoming a free agent, Rose already has shared his hopes and concerns about that process).

There are some very intelligent and well-informed people who believe that Rose bolting after 2017 is a real possibility, but that’s only with things being the way they are at the start of this current season. A lot can happen in 20 months to potentially change Rose’s relationship with the city of Chicago, which has soured considerably over the course of the last three years as the former hometown hero has consistently let his people down.

However, sports cities have a very short memory – as Cleveland proved by welcoming back LeBron James after one of the nastiest breakups in the history of sports. All it takes is a magical run deep into the postseason fueled in large part by Rose’s leadership and athleticism and the city will forget all about whatever disappointment and frustration they might have once felt toward their former hero.

If Rose returns to form and Chicago makes a serious run at a championship, all this talk about a breakup will blow out of town quicker than a Jake Arrieta fastball.

And that’s why Windhorst’s comments on ESPN are to be taken only with a grain of a salt right now. While it is true that the end of Rose in Chicago may be coming, it’s anything but imminent and still has plenty of potential to remedy itself.

The stories surrounding these comments are full of juicy speculation, but so far there’s zero evidence that a trade is coming. For this year at least, expect Rose to remain a member of the Bulls with very little actual controversy.

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