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Derrick Rose struggles with shot in Bulls’ loss; ESPN host off-base

Updated: December 4, 2013 6:50AM

PHILADELPHIA — Derrick Rose has enough to worry about these days.

His shooting stroke is betraying him, his team is trying to find its way after a 107-104 loss Saturday against the Philadelphia 76ers and each day seems to bring a new part of his body in need of ice and tape.

So having to deal with speculation that he could be looking to leave the Bulls at the end of next season because of his unhappiness with the direction of the franchise, well, it brought a look of disgust and a shake of the head from Rose.

ESPN’s “First Take’’ co-host Stephen A. Smith not only put Rose in an awkward spot, but he was inaccurate with his contract situation.

“What Derrick Rose’s brother Reggie said months ago, last season, I harken back to now,’’ Smith said on the broadcast. “And I’m going to make a prediction here, and I’m going to put the Chicago Bulls on notice because I walked around that arena, talked to fans, talked to other reporters, talked to players. I’m here to tell you something right now, and it’s no insider information. It’s just my opinion based on what I know about this league. If the Chicago Bulls don’t go out and get a viable secondary scoring option for Derrick Rose, somebody who can create their own shot when things break down . . . you book it, Derrick Rose will leave the Chicago Bulls the second he can opt out of his contract after next season.’’

The first problem with Smith’s assessment was the five-year extension Rose signed takes him through the 2016-17 season and has no opt-out option. Rose wanted it that way.

The second problem is it again brings Rose’s brother/manager, Reggie, into the headlines — fair or unfair — because, according to several sources, Bulls management saw Smith talking to Rose for at least 15 minutes before the game.

Reggie Rose was critical of the franchise last season, and Smith’s “opinion’’ only brought that back to life.

Not exactly what the Bulls need, especially after watching a 20-point lead disappear.

Rose, who scored 13 points, had his worst game of the young season, shooting 4-for-14 from the field. But his eight turnovers were even more alarming, and five came in the fourth quarter as he was outplayed by rookie Michael Carter-Williams.

“The missed shots, I can deal with,’’ Rose said. “My rhythm’s going to come. But the turnovers, I had two or three in a row. We couldn’t afford them at the time. But all I can do is work hard, and, like I said, it’s going to come to me.’’

Through the first three games, Rose is shooting 15-for-52 (29 percent) from the field and has 17 turnovers and only 13 assists.

But his teammates have his back.

“He’ll be fine,’’ center Joakim Noah said. “I’m not worried about Derrick. You know, his competitive nature and all that, we’re in this together.’’


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