Here was the next problem for the Bulls general manager: He’s not likely to win a sales pitch for Carmelo Anthony if LeBron James, the acting Heat GM, gets involved.
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This is not the palm-to-forehead story a desperate Bulls team wanted to hear on the eve of free agency.
When you can’t pay the max to Anthony -- in fact, when your offer probably will be the lowest -- you have to sell a chance to win a championship, but nobody who’s sane thinks the Bulls can win a championship when the one Bull owning a max contract isn’t worth it and apparently is unsure about his comeback from a second knee surgery that cut short his first comeback, and that wasn’t going so well, either, pal.
It’s tough enough to sell championship dreams when someone else has James, but when your team sometimes revolves around a nice player at center until he has to play against full-grown men, then Rose is the key, and now he might have to skip the first big public test.
The USA Basketball camp doesn’t begin until July 28, but Rose remains uncertain about his ability to be ready after saying he felt ready, and all reports and public comments from Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and USA Basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski echoed that.
"I still don’t know yet," Rose told Yahoo Sports. "My body is responding good, but you never know."’
But yet, Rose then said, "I think I was ready to go a long time ago. . . . I’ve been playing for a long time, even though nobody has (seen it). I just want to step on the court and I want people to see that I’m the same."
Yes. Well. This sounds like the same stuff we heard after Rose had his left ACL surgically repaired three seasons ago.
Remember that tease? He was playing 5-on-5, he was taking contact, he was the best player on the court and he was never coming back for the playoffs while the teammates he holds so dear that he refuses to recruit free agents were dying on the court.
We expected great things when Rose finally returned to start last season. Good things, at least.
Rose produced 10 games of inconsistency and then suffered another knee injury, this one requiring surgically re-attaching his right meniscus. That was seven months ago. That was supposed to be an easier comeback. But now, who knows? Not even Rose, apparently.
It’s not that I would want Rose to lie, but I’d want him to shut up until the Bulls signed somebody.
Maybe you don’t want Rose making calls to recruit free agents such as Anthony, after all. You certainly don’t want him making comments that walk back all the talk about progress he’s made at a time when the Bulls are trying to make their championship pitch seem more legit than fairytale.