Derrick Rose out for the season!
Posted by GCD on 24th Feb 2015
CHICAGO -- The nightmare has returned for Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls.
The news of Rose's meniscus tear hit hard within the organization late Tuesday night for a multitude reasons. But the overall feeling from many team personnel was disbelief and sadness.
Derrick Rose and the Bulls were just starting to get healthy when his latest knee injury was discovered. In the short term, Rose's status for the rest of the season remains uncertain. Bulls general manager Gar Forman and executive vice president John Paxson are likely going to have to add another point guard to play alongside Kirk Hinrich and Aaron Brooks. Veteran Nate Robinson was recently bought out by the Boston Celtics and could be a target given his familiarity with Tom Thibodeau's schemes.
In that regard, the good news for the Bulls is that they are better equipped to handle Rose's absence than they have been in years past. Jimmy Butler earned his first All-Star berth this season and has taken his game to another level. Pau Gasol earned a starting nod in the All-Star Game and has been the Bulls' most consistent offensive player this season.Joakim Noah is playing the best basketball of his season after struggling with the lingering effects of offseason knee surgery.
The Bulls are deeper and more talented than they have been in years, but the larger issue for them might be the mental impact Rose's latest setback has on the group.
As much as the Bulls thrive in the underdog role, they understand what Rose's absence means. The idea that they could win an NBA championship without Rose leading the way while playing at a high level like he did against the Cleveland Cavaliers before the All-Star break seems far-fetched at best, impossible at worst.
From a broader perspective, the latest Rose setback could have some larger ramifications on the organization. The tension surrounding Thibodeau and the Bulls' front office remains at an all-time high. There is a widespread belief around the league that if Thibodeau and the Bulls don't make a deep run in the Eastern Conference playoffs, then the two sides may agree to part ways at the end of the season. Or they could seek a trade with another team to get compensation to allow Thibodeau out of the final two years of his contract.
With Rose possibly out for the remainder of the season, it's hard to see the Bulls being able to make a deep run without their former MVP.
With that in mind, if Rose does have to miss the remainder of the year, it would also likely mark the end of this particular championship window for this group. No matter what happens with Rose in the coming days, his uncertain health status continues to linger over everything the Bulls do. So does Thibodeau's uncertain status in Chicago.
Compounding matters is that Gasol will be 35 years old next year and Noah will be entering the final year of his contract -- playing on a knee that has given him trouble on and off throughout the season.
This Bulls team was built to win right now, this season. The hope was that the championship window might stay open for a couple years, but with all the injury concerns of Rose and others, the pressure was on this group to find a way to string together a postseason run.
With Tuesday night's tough news, the Bulls are now staring into a more uncertain future than ever before.