By Patrice Nkrumah, Chicago Crusader
On the same day when one million people gathered to pay homage to their hometown hero LeBron James in Cleveland after winning their first NBA title in the city’s history, fans in Chicago had mixed feelings about the Chicago Bulls trading South Side native Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks.
The Rose trade came as a shock to some but a welcome move to others, who say the Simeon alum made a lot of public relations blunders during his time in Chicago and brought little to the floor the past four years. In exchange for Rose, Justin Holiday and a second round pick, the Bulls get guards Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant, along with center Robin Lopez.
“Derrick was a big part of a lot of success here over the years,” said Bulls General Manager Gar Foreman. “But going to where we are headed, we felt it was the best decision to make at this time.”
The Bulls were not planning to resign Rose when his contract ends at the end of next season, a contract that still had $21 million left. Rose has not commented on the trade as he is in Los Angeles, where he lives during the off season. After winning the Rookie of the year in 2010 and league MVP in 2011, Rose dealt with a multitude of ailments, including two serious knee injuries. Many fans had grown tired of his controversial comments in the press, which led many to question his dedication to winning a title and everyone was tired of his fragile nature.
“It’s a move that should have been made some years ago,” said Eric Andrews of Joliet. “He was done after the first knee injury. But when he was cleared by the doctors to come back and play that season and he refused to do so, insisting he was going to sit out the entire year, I lost respect for him.”
But not everyone feels that way, especially Rose’s female fans that adore him. Many say Rose was working hard to get healthy and you cannot fault him for injuries.
“Getting hurt is part of the game, but you don’t just dump somebody,” said Shonriqua Pittsfield from the Kenwood/Oakland community. “Plus he’s so cute,” she said while laughing. “I’m going to miss him but I really am scared he is going to go to New York and come back here and kick our butt.”
Rose’s productivity has dropped sharply since he first burst onto the scene. The 27-year-old, who came into the league after one year of college, leaves the Bulls as the 10th leading scorer in franchise history and fifth in assist. He averaged over 20 points a game his first four years in the league but could not reach that mark again the past few seasons. An alleged behind the scenes relationship with star guard Jimmy Butler that is rocky, also led to the move fans suspect. Rose is especially successful and known for the ability to convert difficult layups. His aggressive style of play in attacking the basket also helped to make him a three-time All-Star, but also may have taken a toll on his body, especially after the surgery.
Three years ago Rose signed an endorsement deal with the Giordano’s Pizza chain and is a part owner of the company. He and his brother Reggie are also known for doing a lot of charity work in their old neighborhood and supporting basketball programs throughout the city.