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Tom Thibodeau: Derrick Rose’s recruiting of Kirk Hinrich is a sign of maturity

Bulls guard Derrick Rose embraces Hawks guard Kirk Hinrich after Chicago Bulls 90-79 wover AtlantHawks 90-79 Monday February 20 2012

Bulls guard Derrick Rose embraces Hawks guard Kirk Hinrich after the Chicago Bulls 90-79 win over the Atlanta Hawks 90-79 Monday February 20, 2012 at the United Center. | TOM CRUZE~Sun-Times

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Updated: November 6, 2012 6:34AM

Derrick Rose always insisted that playing recruiter for top free agents wasn’t in his makeup.

That changed this offseason when he admittedly went after Kirk Hinrich.

Coach Tom Thibodeau not only appreciated that, but he said it was further evidence of Rose’s maturation.

“I think it’s important,’’ Thibodeau said. “They’ve been friends for a long time. They have a lot of respect for each other. Derrick, his leadership, has really grown. He’s gotten more comfortable. He’s been here a long time now, so I think he felt it was the natural thing to do.’’

It wasn’t natural last season, though, when Rose insisted he would not play recruiter when Dwight Howard was rumored to be on the Bulls’ radar.

Stars recruiting stars has been a much-hyped trend of late, but Thibodeau said it has been going on for a long time. Long before the Heat made it popular.

“I think it’s always been like that,’’ Thibodeau said. “I think that’s always been a big part of the NBA.’’

The view from Gar

General manager Gar Forman reiterated that he thinks Rose will be back at some point this season from his ACL surgery.

“He’s doing great, and he’s right on schedule,” Forman said in a radio interview.

“He’s attacked this rehab and has been very focused, and we’re really pleased with where he is right now.

“But it’s a process, and it’s a long process. It’s still too early to pinpoint an exact time when he’ll be back, but everything as of right now is on schedule, and he’s doing terrific.’’

Off the rim

The Bulls waived guard Vance Cooksey on Thursday.

Cooksey, a rookie from Pikeville College who graduated from Marian Catholic, signed with the Bulls after playing in the NBA’s Development League last season.

† To celebrate Rose’s 24th birthday during practice, Hinrich made the rookies sing “Happy Birthday.’’

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