Derrick Rose has always had a connection with his hometown and this summer provides the possibility for the former league MVP to return to Chicago.
According to B.J. Armstrong, Rose’s agent, the point guard would be open to returning to Chicago if the Bulls were interested. Rose will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and after a dominant 2018-19 campaign, there will be a strong market for his services.
After being limited to 25 games in 2017-18, Rose exploded back onto the NBA scene this year. He averaged 18.0 points, 4.3 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game while shooting 48.2 percent from the floor and 37.0 percent from behind the arc.
Only 15 players in the league this season have averaged 17.0 points, 4.0 assists and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting at least 45 percent from the floor and 35 percent from deep.
Rose is one of them.
Unfortunately for him, he was limited to 51 games this season after being shut down March 21 due to an elbow injury. He also experienced ankle problems in January and February, leading to him missing additional games. Yes, there will always be injury concerns with Rose, but he’s no longer expected to carry a franchise which is why the negative impact of those injuries isn’t as great as it once was.
Which brings us to a potential reunion in Chicago this summer.
The Bulls will have a little over $23 million in cap space, but they aren’t expected to be in the mix for the top free agents in a loaded 2019 class. Chicago also has a high lottery pick and regardless of where that selection lands, the Bulls will likely be filling out their roster around a young core.
Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr. and Otto Porter Jr. will be projected starters entering next season, but Kris Dunn’s play at the point guard position has been underwhelming.
Here are his numbers during the last two seasons with the Bulls.
|Kris Dunn Season Splits||Points||FG %||3-point %||Assists||Rebounds|
|2017-18 (52 games)||13.4||42.9||32.1||6.0||4.3|
|2018-19 (46 games)||11.3||42.5||35.4||6.0||4.1|
That being said, the advanced numbers, via Basketball-Reference.com, actually show an improvement in play on that end, but a slip defensively.
|Kris Dunn Season Splits||Offensive Rating||Team Offensive Rating On||Team Offensive Rating Off||Defensive Rating||Team Defensive Rating On||Team Defensive Rating Off|
If Chicago decides to end the Dunn experiment and isn’t in a position to draft Ja Morant, the top point guard prospect in the NBA Draft, it’ll have to look to free agency to bolster the position.
Rose is obviously among the free agency options Chicago could consider, but there are other veterans that’ll command a financial commitment similar to Rose.
Check out their numbers below.
|2018-19 Statistics||Points||FG %||3-point %||Assists||Rebounds||Offensive Rating||Defensive Rating|
Collison and Beverley, who’s also a Chicago native, project as more viable starting point guard options next season as both can shoot 3-pointers and defend at a better clip than Rose.
Collison is also the best overall available player of the group, but he might opt to return to Indiana or play for another immediate contender — the Bulls don’t fit that bill.
Ultimately, any realistic shot at a potential reunion between Rose and the Bulls hinges on the lottery. If the Bulls are in a position to select Morant, they’ll likely go that route because he fits a position of need and has superstar potential.
But if Morant is off the board, Rose could be attracted by the chance to play for an up-and-coming team in his hometown. And if Collison and Beverley end up inking contracts with other teams, it becomes a real possibility that the Bulls re-sign their former No. 1 overall pick.