Derrick Rose, like the rest of the NBA, is in the midst of the fluff tour. Where NBA media around the country talk to players for all their feel good stories about how much their jumpers have improved, how much muscle they've gained, and how THIS year it will be better.
For Derrick, the fluff interviews are almost dangerous pieces due to the way last season ended. He has no choice but to repeatedly hammer home the point that he's healthy now but wasn't healthy enough to play in May.
A series of points which may or may not be true, but pours salt in the wounds of many Bulls fans either way. The media isn't trying to beat him up with it which almost makes the fan response even stronger out of anger that no one in the media will beat him up with it.
However, in the midst of this fluff interview with the rappler, the most disturbing thing may not be his answer about why he didn't come back [which was that he wasn't good enough to take on double teams, he felt good enough to take on one guy but not two], but his answer to recruiting which came in the last segment around 2:46 into the video.
"I don't recruit, I don't recruit. If anyone wants to play with me, I don't mind playing with them. It can be anyone in the NBA, but as far as recruiting I never did or I never will"
It's the old school mentality that you love and hate at the same time. Yes, there's something to like about the fact that Derrick Rose isn't whoring himself out there to every pedestrian role player available, trying to convince them that Chicago is the place to go.
It's also worth noting that his lack of "recruitment" only really extends to the guys he's not friends with. He's recruiting Kevin Love and Kevin Durant without even realizing it.
Star players you recruit by becoming their friends. Dwyane Wade didn't "recruit" LeBron James and Chris Bosh the way the three of them recruited Ray Allen. They played together, appreciated each others talents, became friends, and formed a plan.
Derrick Rose likely won't be as crafty at this as Dwyane Wade, but he doesn't have to be. He just has to continue working out with other great players, letting them see his greatness, and see what kind of person he is. Kevin Durant and Kevin Love are two guys who will likely appreciate Rose's attitude towards the game.
After management has weakened the team in consecutive off-seasons while on the verge of the title in order to avoid the luxury tax, Durant is unlikely to be all that happy. He'll be looking for an out, and when you're looking for an out, you start looking for the best situation available to leave to.
Maybe Derrick Rose isn't recruiting Kevin Durant, maybe he isn't saying "hey Kevin, you should come play in Chicago". In Derrick's mind he might not be putting it out there at all. However, the best recruiting pitch is the subtle one, and if Rose genuinely loves playing for the Bulls then he'll be recruiting the hell out of Durant whether he's trying or not.
In a sense, this is where the Bulls have a dangerous line to walk as well. Since Derrick isn't outwardly recruiting, they need to make sure Derrick genuinely loves playing in Chicago. They need to make sure in his quiet moments he's not venting about his treatment from the ACL or management forcing him to play.
They need to make sure he likes the guys they bring in and are doing enough to keep him happy with the talent base while at the same time remaining flexible enough to have max contract room available in 2016. I'm not saying the Bulls should simply wait for 2016 and do nothing for the next three years, but right now the Bulls only have Rose and Gibson under contract for those years. They can dump Gibson if they need to.
Chicago should be careful about whom they add. Mirotic will be cheap, Butler is likely a must, and Snell will be under his final option year. They'll have the Charlotte pick at this point as well regardless of when it comes due. If the Bulls aren't able to add any other significant pieces in the next three seasons [they won't have much flexibility to do so] then they can do worse then entering that off-season with those players and hoping for Durant.
This also would have fit perfectly into a Luol Deng extension this summer as Deng expires in 2016 like Joakim Noah. Locking in Deng for three years would be the type of move that would help keep the team stable and of high quality up until the point where Durant is a free agent. Locking him in for four is the type of move that will screw them over.
A core of Durant and Rose in their primes could be the most dynamic duo in the league and clearly the best case scenario for Chicago. Durant's the type of personality that would love to play with Rose as well. It fits, it fits better than the LeBron thing ever fit as their games would complement each other as well.
2016 plan Doug? Really? You're selling me on 2016?
Yes. Yes I am.
The 2014 plan is a fraud. It's not even a plan. I've pointed this out several times. 2016 is a long shot. However, the Houston Rockets look like they have a dominant future because they went for a long shot and succeeded.
The Bulls shouldn't give up for the next three seasons just to hang around and wait. They can win the title if things go their way, and they should continue to push in that direction. However, they can push while being mindful of Durant's free agency year.
They should position themselves to strike if the opportunity is there. Derrick Rose isn't openly recruiting anyone, but when you start doing private workouts with Durant, the recruitment doesn't have to be open. It's automatic.
Durant will likely be looking for an out in three off-seasons, Chicago will likely still need a second super star as there's no way to get one before then.
The Bulls will continue to have a punchers shot at the title for three years, but if they're careful, they can have a punchers chance at a dynasty after that.