Derrick Rose has never been known as a competent orator, and Bulls fans rightfully didn't care. After all, Rose is paid to play basketball, not teach classes on public speaking.
But one specific quote that appeared in Sunday's Chicago Tribune goes a long way toward explaining why the Bulls and Derrick Rose need to part ways this summer:
"I feel I'm an All-Star right now"
While NBA fans may one day again see Derrick Rose play in an All-Star game, there was no point during the past season in which Rose resembled an All-Star.
There are some Bulls fans who like to point out a particular stretch of games last season during which he looked like the Derrick Rose of old, but unfortunately that was just wishful thinking. A simple look at the numbers tells us that Rose was never particularly good at any point of the 2015-16 season.
Rose was certainly better in January than he had been the first two months of the season, when he was struggling with his shooting due to the after effects from the eye injury he suffered the first day of training camp. He averaged 17.6 points per game - a 15% jump over the previous month. He had a true shooting percentage of .526 that month, easily his highest number of the season.
But a .526 true shooting percentage isn't anywhere near All-Star level. The league average for TS% is .541, and while this number is naturally higher for big men than for guards, .526 isn't close to an All-Star level for a point guard:
Kyle Lowry .578
John Wall .510 (#2 in the NBA with 10.2 assists per game)
Isaiah Thomas .562
Steph Curry .669
Russell Westbrook .554
Chris Paul .575
Rose averaged only 3.3 assists per game in January, obviously a horrible number for a point guard (Rose was only 4th on the team in assists per game in January). He also averaged 2.5 turnovers in January, 2nd-most on the team (Gasol averaged 2.6). Rose's assist/turnover ratio for the month was 1.3/1, obviously an extremely poor number for a point guard.
Rose's highest scoring month of the season was February, when he played in 8 of the team's 12 games and averaged 21.9 points (and 6.0 assists, his second-best month of the season). The team was without their #1 and #4 scorers (Butler and Mirotic) that month, so they certainly needed Rose's scoring - the bad thing, however, is that it took him 19.4 FGA to score those 21.9 points. Even though he averaged a season-best 4.9 FTA that month, his TS% was only .508.
February was probably Rose's best month, even though he played in only 2/3 of his team's games. He scored at an All-Star level, but his TS% and mediocre assist totals (which were somewhat negated by his 3.3 turnovers per game) certainly prevent anyone from claiming he was performing at an All-Star level for the month.
Rose's March stats: 16.6 points, 4.5 assists, 2.5 turnovers and .511 TS%. Clearly nowhere near All-Star numbers.
On top of his mediocre offensive production, Rose's defense was downright atrocious last season. On most nights it appeared as if he wasn't giving any effort at all on the defensive end.
The Bulls really have no choice but to move on from the Rose era and hand the keys to the team over to Jimmy Butler.
As I pointed out a few days ago, Jimmy put up LeBron numbers this season when he played and Rose didn't. The team overall went 32-34 when Rose played vs 10-6 when he didn't, and the Bulls played at a 67-win pace when Jimmy played and Rose was inactive.
Don't get me wrong, Derrick Rose can still have nights where he looks like MVP Rose - but they are few and far between. Outside of those rare flashback nights, he is simply an average starting-level NBA point guard (not that there's anything wrong with that).
The problem for the Bulls is that Rose still thinks he's an All-Star level player, and he still wants to be the alpha dog. And while he certainly struggled with saying the wrong things at the wrong time in his first year as self-proclaimed team leader, Jimmy Butler is now the Bulls' alpha dog.
But certainly there is a team out there that can use a volume scorer with a superstar name (which Rose certainly still has). To this writer, the obvious choice is Philadelphia, a team full of young players and without a point guard (Ish Smith is now a free agent). While it might be too much to ask the Sixers to send Nerlens Noel to the Bulls for Rose, Philly does have a couple of extra draft picks at the bottom of the first round (#22 and #26). It's possible the Sixers might send one of their picks in the 20's in exchange for Rose.
Sacramento is also looking for a point guard, with Rajon Rondo now an unrestricted free agent. I can't see the Kings giving up Willie Cauley-Stein or their lottery-pick for Rose, but they might send Rudy Gay to the Bulls (or to another team that would send a 1st-round pick to Chicago).
The Bulls can't be picky, however - if they can find a team to take on the last year of Rose's salary, they have to do it - even if they get nothing but a 2nd-round pick in return. The Bulls can use the cap space to sign a player (or players) that fit with Jimmy Butler. They need more athleticism and more three-point shooting
The Derrick Rose era is over in Chicago, it's time for the Jimmy Butler era to officially begin.