This can't be what Chicago wanted for Derrick Rose.
Short of the revamped Bulls knocking off LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers as NBA champions, seeing Rose and fellow former Bull Joakim Noah win a title with the Knicks should be easy to embrace for those who followed their careers in Chicago. Although both had bouts with foot-in-mouth disease, neither held back on the court while wearing a Bulls uniform. More important, both worked to enhance the community they represented through various forms of outreach.
Even though he's a Knick now, Rose's status as a fan favorite would be on the rise if he played his cards right. Cultivating followers in not one but two major cities should be every athlete's marketing dream, for starters. Instead, this week the Chicago native acted in a way that was selfish at worst and mostly clueless at best.
The fact that he left his team to be with his mother in Chicago is not the concern. Any employee of any company should be encouraged to take time off when needed. The job always can wait when it comes to family.
But why shut out your teammates, your bosses and your readily available support system so dismissively? If the Knicks want him to succeed—and how could they not—they should cater to their players' emotional and familial needs. Had he told them what he planned to do, maybe they would have arranged for his travel. Maybe they could have supported his family in a way he couldn't.
"I didn't want to take any calls at the time," Rose told reporters Tuesday. "I just needed that space to myself and needed to be around my mom."
That's a little strange considering how quickly the situation was resolved, but let's take him at his word. Why go it alone?
There would have been no foreseeable downside to notifying the Knicks of his plans. Even if he didn't say anything until after he left, he still would have been better off. No doubt the Knicks would have preferred to publicly assure everyone that everything was fine, then slap Rose on the wrist privately, than deal with the mini-circus that unfolded upon his return.
Rose's absence not have yielded any punishment at all had he been upfront. The fact he failed to recognize any of that is concerning.
Even if the report in the New York Daily News is true and Rose has been struggling with his commitment to basketball in general, notifying the Knicks of his whereabouts should have been a no-brainer.
And a fresh start after a string of injury-plagued seasons in Chicago should have been just what Rose needed. Judging by the (head-scratching) boos that rained down on him when the Knicks played at the United Center in November, some fans were frustrated with the lack of results while he was a Bull.
Before this week, Knicks fans likely harbored no such misgivings. They had to be hoping that adding a potentially explosive point guard to a roster with stars Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis would vault them into the NBA title picture. And while the Knicks should find it encouraging that Rose's stats (17.3 points, 4.5 assists, 3.9 rebounds) are stable compared to last year, they have to be questioning any future investment—he's an unrestricted free agent after this season.
In Chicago, emotionally investing in Rose has become a dicier proposition. Which is a shame, because it definitely didn't have to be that way.
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