Let's get something straight: the reason the Bulls don't plan to hang on to Nate Robinson past Jan. 10 and thereby guarantee his $1.2 million contract for the year is because they don't want to pay luxury tax, not because they have an overcrowded backcourt or are anticipating the return of Derrick Rose.
A source continues to insist Derrick is not coming back any time soon, if at all, this season, no matter how often the Bulls or anyone else in Chicago starts to get breathless about him practicing or working out. I understand why the Bulls do it -- they have to keep hope alive and ticket sales humming. But can we call the situation for what it is? A holding period. The organization made a conscious decision to be frugal this season, resulting in a roster that isn't as good or deep as last year's -- yet somehow that's being ignored just because they're still at the top of the division. Can the Bulls be better than either the Knicks or the Heat, not to mention the Thunder? In a playoff series? Not a chance. And yet this is a roster that DRose should shortcut his recovery for?
How about, instead, Derrick tunes himself up for next season and this summer the Bulls combine whatever pieces are necessary, including that No. 1 pick from Charlotte, to put a bona fide All-Star next to Rose? How about the next time he has to go up against LeBron and Wade and Bosh, or KD and Russ and Ibaka, or any other three stars, he has at least one legitimate fellow All-Star caliber talent next to him? I love the grit of the current Bulls' team, particularly Noah and Deng, but they're not guaranteed to start on more than half the teams in the league
. And they represent the next two best players the Bulls have. I'm sure there are plenty in Chicago who are dying to see Rose back this season. My take: they should be dying to see the Bulls find a wingman that make Rose's return worthwhile first.