When it comes to Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer only knows love
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org April 2, 2013 8:44PM
Chicago Bulls v Washington Wizards
Updated: April 2, 2013 10:23PM
WASHINGTON — Carlos Boozer was looking for an assist — running out of words as he discussed how much the chance to play alongside Derrick Rose influenced his decision to sign the free-agent deal that brought him to the Bulls before the 2010 season.
‘‘Playing with Derrick, man — special,’’ Boozer said Tuesday. ‘‘Even when he’s practicing, he does something that we just haven’t seen before because his athleticism sets him apart from every other player we have.
‘‘He’s quick, he’s strong, he actually hangs in the air. . . . I mean, Taj [Gibson] can hang in the air for a little bit, but when Derrick does it, it just looks different, it, it . . .”
‘‘It’s ‘The Matrix,’ ’’ finished Gibson, who was sitting a few feet away.
‘‘Yeah,’’ Boozer agreed. ‘‘I just know that I love playing with him.’’
But is the feeling mutual?
That question was asked in February after Reggie Rose, Derrick’s older brother and manager, vented to ESPNChicago about the Bulls’ inactivity at the trade deadline.
‘‘Joakim Noah is a great player. Luol Deng is a great player,’’ Reggie Rose said then. ‘‘But you need more than that.’’
Boozer wasn’t mentioned despite being a two-time All-Star, and only the 28th player in NBA history to average more than 10 points and 7.5 rebounds per game for each of his first 10 seasons.
‘‘You have to put together pieces to your main piece,’’ Reggie Rose continued. ‘‘The players can only do so much. It’s up to the organization to make them better. … It’s frustrating to see my brother play his heart and soul out for the team and them not put anything around him.’’
Right after the elder Rose made those comments, the private belief was that they were directed at Boozer. Derrick Rose has since distanced himself from the remarks. Boozer claimed not to put much stock into what Reggie Rose said and painted a picture of a team that’s as close as any he has been a part of.
‘‘We’re all good dudes, man,’’ Boozer said. ‘‘We don’t have any jerks on this team. I’ve been on teams where we have jerks. We’re all good guys. You have to give [vice president of basketball operations John Paxson] and [general manager] Gar [Forman] credit for that because they bring in people that are good guys.
‘‘The thing is, we’re all friends off the court. We hang out off the court. We go to dinner together. If we go out, we all go out together. We go on vacations together — whatever the case may be. I know I don’t do anything by myself. If I’m going somewhere, Nate [Robinson], Taj, somebody, we’re always together.’’
On the court, Boozer is having a better season than he did last year, but his best season with the Bulls was when Rose was operating at full strength in 2010-11. So while he might be getting more touches with Rose still sidelined as he recovers from a surgically repaired anterior cruciate ligament, he knows where his bread is buttered.
‘‘I really don’t care about the stats part of it,’’ Boozer said. ‘‘Again, if he does come back, and even if he doesn’t come back, we still feel like we’re a good team. But if he does come back, we feel like he puts us over the hump.’’