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Derrick Rose camp doesn’t have leg to stand on if it dislikes Bulls’ direction

Updated: January 8, 2014 10:13AM



Derrick Rose might want to proceed with extreme caution.

The next thing he says should be thought out very well.

It’s time for the face of the Camp Rose franchise to gather the troops — brother/manager Reggie included — and deliver a simple message: Everyone needs to shut their mouths.

Because fair or not, the Bulls’ mess is on Rose.

He’s earning $17.6 million this season and still is owed roughly $60 million for the next three seasons. He has earned the complete trust of a franchise still committed to building around him, despite two knee surgeries. And he defiantly won’t involve himself in the recruiting game that goes on among the NBA’s elite.

So come the trade deadline Feb. 20, there shouldn’t be one whisper out of Rose’s camp that he’s somehow unhappy with the direction of the team. Not when his hands have been on the steering wheel the last four seasons.

The trade of Luol Deng late Monday was for financial flexibility, but it also came about because of Rose’s injury.

“When Derrick had the injury against Portland and we learned that the surgery was going to keep him out for the remainder of the year, at that time our focus had to broaden a little bit,’’ vice president of basketball operations John Paxson said Tuesday. “We had to look more about the future and a little less about today.’’

That’s because today is a mess.

The Bulls were headed for no-man’s land, good enough to sneak into the playoffs but bad enough to be ousted early and miss out on what could be a fruitful draft lottery in June. Deng had to go.

And, of course, there were immediate whispers that Rose wasn’t happy with the decision.

“Both [chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] and [general manager] Gar [Forman] spoke to Derrick,’’ Paxson said. “I’m never going to speak for Derrick. Derrick can speak for himself, and I’m sure that when he feels like it, he will. Our communication with Derrick has never led us to believe that [he’s unhappy].’’

Rose shouldn’t be. If anything, he should be proactive.

He continued to insist last month that his only goal is to win a title. So he should start acting like a player who wants a ring.

Keep rehabbing, but get on the phone, reach out to possible free agents such as LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh and tell them that cap space is coming to the Bulls this summer.

More importantly, be the boss of the Rose franchise, and keep the worker bees in line.

Like Paxson said, Rose undoubtedly will address all of this soon.

It better be good.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com



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