Thibs says the Bulls have an offseason plan for Derrick Rose
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org May 15, 2013 10:43PM
MIAMI, FL - MAY 15: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls looks on during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on May 15, 2013 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Updated: June 18, 2013 7:53AM
MIAMI — Derrick Rose might not be planning much this summer.
Whether the Bulls point guard likes it or not, the organization wants more say in what his offseason will consist of.
“There will be a plan with him [this offseason],’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We have an offseason program that he’s going to have to go through. It will be mostly the same, but we’ll be adding a few things to it.’’
With good reason.
The Bulls watched their season come to an end in a 94-91 Game 5 loss to the Miami Heat on Wednesday. It was the second time in three years that the Heat have put the Bulls on ice. The chasing is getting old.
And chasing the defending champs with Rose sitting out the season with his surgically-repaired anterior cruciate ligament? The results weren’t so hot. This summer has to be about getting Rose at full strength physically and mentally if the Bulls want to put an end to their futility against LeBron James’ team.
“People will have to deal with LeBron for a long time, so that’s going to be an issue,’’ Bulls VP of basketball operations John Paxson said last week.
It’s an even bigger issue when a team limps into a playoff series as the Bulls did.
Rose? Out. Luol Deng? Out after complications from a spinal tap. Kirk Hinrich? Never recovered from a bruised left calf suffered in the first-round win over the Brooklyn Nets.
“It’s a shame,’’ Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We have a goal, and it’s no mercy, but everyone knows that we would have wanted to see both rosters complete.’’
Besides Dwyane Wade on an injured right knee, the Heat mostly was. The Bulls, not so much, and the Heat put them in an 18-2 hole Wednesday. But the Bulls refused to fade.
After outscoring the Heat 32-17 in the second quarter, they went into the half with a 53-47 lead.
“We just hung in there,’’ Bulls forward Carlos Boozer said. “They jumped on us, and slowly but surely we got a couple more stops, couple more baskets.’’
Boozer was a big reason, scoring 19 points in the first 24 minutes.
But as Spoelstra put it, the Heat are “on a mission.’’
Wade took over in the last five minutes of the game, with two floaters in the lane and a put-back dunk off a miss.
Trailing be three with the ball on the final possession, Nate Robinson and Jimmy Butler missed game-tying three-point attempts, ending a drama-filled season.
The attention quickly turned to Rose, and rightfully so.
“It was hard,’’ Bulls All-Star center Joakim Noah said of not having Rose all year. “As a player you want him to come back, but at the same time you have to look at the big picture. I’m proud of him because he’s dealt with it great. I don’t think a lot of people could have handled it like that. If I was his big brother or a family member, and you look at it from that perspective, he did the right thing.’’
And now the right thing will be doing whatever the team asks of him this summer.
“Everything,’’ Boozer said of what a Rose return would mean next year. “He’s a game-changer all by himself. Just his presence alone will add a lot to the team. If we [are healthy] next year, we can be scary.’’