CSN talked to Kevin Durant about his off-season workouts with Derrick Rose and Durant noted he felt Derrick made the right decision in sitting out. However, for Bulls fans already looking ahead to 2016, Durant also gave a ringing endorsement to Tom Thibodeau as well.
From the CSN interview:
“He’s been looking great. It was really good for him to take the whole year off," Durant said. "A lot of people criticized him for it and were really upset about him not playing, but it was the best thing for him. I can tell, because he looks better.”
Obviously, always good news to hear one of the elite players of the NBA say Derrick looks good.
Of course, Durant would never say the reverse but he didn't need to come out and say something so positive either. It's probably meaningless fluff, especially coming from one of the league's super nice guys, but I'll take it over no direct comments or nothing at all.
“Well he’s an MVP," Durant said. "He’s a high-level player. If you lose that, of course you’re not going to be as good as you were before. But I love Coach Thibs and I love what he brings to the table. Their defense is one of the best I’ve ever seen. So that gets them by, but I think they need an extra push from the offense and that’s what D-Rose brings to the table. So explosive, so great, just a great person all around. I really enjoy watching him play. He is one of the few players I would go pay to see play. He is going to make them even better this year.”
You're god damn right it is Kevin, wouldn't you love to come play with that defense behind you against the Miami Heat?
Obviously Rose will ad a lot to the team, you don't lose a guy like Rose without taking a significant step backwards, I think most Bulls fans were very pleased with what the team accomplished last season without Derrick relative to how bad it could have been.
“I had the chance to talk to coach Thibs a little bit. I was working out with D-Rose this summer a couple of times, and he stopped by one time," Durant said. "I had the opportunity to talk to him, just to pick his brain. With him being a new head coach, he’s been around the game for a long time, around so many great minds. He just told me how he approached every single day with his team, and managing egos, managing different feelings and emotions from different players and how he brings it together.
"He doesn’t worry about anything but the game of basketball. He doesn’t worry about contracts, issues, none of that. He just worries about the game of basketball, and I really respect that. I really enjoyed my time talking with him, and he opened my eyes to a lot of different things. I can see why the Chicago Bulls are so successful.”
Now saying some nice things about your workout partner is one thing and showing respect for another head coach and organization isn't all that rare either [though typically happens in playoff interviews where guys aren't trying to give blackboard material to the other team], in fact, this type of feel good behavior is probably part of Kevin Durant's personality.
That said, it's still a stark contract from Dwight Howard who consistently voiced a desire to not play in Chicago. You have to think if Durant makes it to free agency that he gives the Bulls a serious look if they have cap room.
There are also cracks in his relationship with the Thunder.
It certainly left you wondering when the 24-year-old, when asked to assess his team's business to date in July, offered nothing more than "I love it" before walking away from the assembled press pack to bring the interview to a halt.
Which is certainly not the norm with one of the foremost gentlemen in the modern game.
And of course, we have the infamous Durant Bulls photo to fall back on:
I'm not saying it's all lined up for 2016, let's sit around and do noting until then. The Bulls have three years with an excellent chance to win a championship between now and that off-season, and what better way to recruit Durant than to have won a ring already?
However, if I'm the Chicago Bulls, and I can find any way possible to do it, I'm keeping a max contract slot open that can fit Durant's salary in it. There's no better player in the league to pair Rose with and while the odds of it working out are fairly slim, you have to take your shots at building a dynasty when you can because they don't come around that often.