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Derrick Rose must be held accountable for reluctance to recruit

Updated: July 7, 2014 11:29AM



It’s time to absolve Derrick Rose of the latest accusation.

In the case of Rose vs. The Mother Ship, in which Rose was painted as being completely ignorant that free agent Carmelo Anthony was in town last week, a source said Sunday that was ‘‘absolutely false.’’ Not only was Rose informed that his workout would be moved from the Berto Center to the United Center because of Anthony’s presence, but he was all for meeting with Anthony to talk shop.

So Rose is off the hook for that. Unfortunately, only for that.

It’s time to stop protecting our own and treating the humble superstar from Englewood with kid gloves.

Here are the facts of the last two seasons of Rose’s career with the Bulls: He has played in 10 games, earned $6.8 million per victory since his current contract kicked in and made one come-on-board phone call to a free agent — and that was to Kirk Hinrich.

It’s no longer good enough. Even a free pass has an expiration date, no matter where you grew up, and Rose’s is hitting that point.

It’s not Rose’s fault that he has had two season-ending knee injuries. It’s not his fault that the Bulls gave him a five-year,
$94.8 million contract extension in the wake of his 2010-11 MVP season. That was his market value before a new collective-bargaining agreement changed the way of business in the NBA.

It’s not even Rose’s fault that he is oblivious to the criticism directed at him, especially during the should-he-or-shouldn’t-he-play debate in 2012-13. The idea that a superstar player can insulate himself so completely from the world around him is definitely different.

Even late into his rehabilitation for his first knee injury, Rose was asked if he was bothered by the fan and media criticism about how long it was taking him to recover. He replied: ‘‘Really? I had no idea. Man, I just watch my movies and listen to my music.’’

Statements such as that have led outsiders to question Rose’s intelligence. But they’re confusing intelligence with the life in the bubble he has chosen for himself. Be very careful of that because Rose’s IQ about what really matters is a lot higher than he is given credit for.

But where he has missed — and missed badly — is in his archaic attitude of not needing to recruit to help lure potential free agents to Chicago.

Rose’s reasoning is, ‘‘It’s not my job.’’ No, it is your job. It’s your job to do
whatever it takes to make
your team better — the
team that believed in you enough to commit nearly $100 million to you.

No one in the Bulls’ organization is more competitive than Joakim Noah. But even Noah has realized that the new NBA isn’t only about whom you know but whom you can sell your team on, pride be damned. This is about getting a ring. And if that means having to pretend you care about Anthony’s concerns about coach Tom Thibodeau or where his wife likes to shop, so be it.

Noah took the lead in recruiting Anthony at the All-Star Game and didn’t let up, shooting him text messages throughout the second half of the season. Knowing Noah, there’s no way he enjoyed that. But when you have a whatever-it-takes attitude, play the game.

Rose? He agreed to move his workout downtown so that he could give Anthony a what’s-up.

Inexcusable.

No one is asking Rose to dress up in the Benny the Bull costume, but he has had plenty of free time this year to be working the phones and letting guys know the Bulls’ window for an NBA title is open right now.

As for Anthony, it doesn’t appear that the Bulls will be his final destination. It’s sounding more and more like he will choose a money grab with the New York Knicks or join the Los Angeles Lakers to continue a career of selfishness.

Maybe Rose’s hands-off approach didn’t make any difference. But it sure
didn’t help.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @suntimes_hoops



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