Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls are making every stop on the favored-son-becomes-selfish-pariah road map.
Things started to turn last year, when Rose's brother, Reggie, publicly ripped the Bulls for not making a move at the trade deadline. Now that Rose is hurt again and the Bulls stink, there are rumblings that Chicago will let some of their best players walk this offseason and begin a rebuilding process of sorts. Of course, Derrick Rose isn't too thrilled about coming back to a stripped-down roster, and reports of his unhappiness have leaked to the New York Daily News.
So we've got a sad, injured superstar growing increasingly at odds with his team, which is now saddled with a very uncertain future precisely because its sad superstar is injured. Now all we need is a local columnist to throw some more gas on the fire with a shitty, finger-wagging column. Oh cool, here comes Dan Bernstein:
What does he think they have, and where does he think it's going? Most importantly, what does he not understand about the primary reason for the Bulls' current plight? It takes some nerve to call out his employers after they have paid him 30% of their salary cap to miss consecutive seasons.
This is typical behavior from a player who has always done only what is in his personal best interest, everybody else be damned. He'll take every last dollar, and enjoy all the team-supplied resources for medical consultations, surgeries, rehabilitation programs and various therapists, only to ignore their professional opinions just because he feels like it. And don't bother asking him for even token assistance in welcoming potential free agents either, because he doesn't want to.
At this moment, John Paxson and Gar Forman are trying to win an NBA championship more in spite of Derrick Rose than because of him.
Putting aside the fact that Bernstein's column is really dumb and seems to have been written with the assumption that Rose keeps getting hurt on purpose, it's a good illustration of what a mess this whole situation is becoming. Nothing breeds contempt like frustration and losing, and out of that contempt comes hot takes like this. Sides have to be taken, frauds have to be called out, and everything has to get much messier than it needs to be.
But the thing is, there's no real villain in this scenario. Rose isn't wrong to want the team he returns to next year to be a not-crappy one, and the fact that he's been injured and on the shelf for two seasons doesn't mean that he's not allowed to have an opinion about such things. On the other hand, what the hell are the Bulls supposed to do? The current roster is built very specifically to function best with Rose in it, but how long are they supposed to wait around for him? And when he does come back, what if he's not the same player, and the roster suddenly doesn't function like it's supposed to?
There's no perfect resolution in sight for Rose and the Bulls, and that sucks for everyone involved. What is in sight, however, are plenty more columns like Bernstein's. So let's all get ready to have a really crappy time.