Rose: Bulls Can Lure Top Free Agent
Either Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh or Joe Johnson could be coming to Chicago soon.
"It would be huge for us. It would make us a serious contender,'' Rose told FanHouse Thursday afternoon before the Bulls played the Magic in Orlando. "I think we can get one of them. We have other things to worry about right now, getting into the playoffs, but I can't wait for that day (landing another star) to come.''
By trading away John Salmons and his $6.4 million contract last month, the Bulls became one of eight teams that can offer a maximum salaried contract to one of the free agent stars this summer.
James, Wade and Bosh all have had their interests linked to the Bulls at some point this season.
"I'd be fine with any one of them,'' Rose said. "One of them would be great. They'd all fit well here. I think we've got a good shot. Why wouldn't they want to come to Chicago? It's a great market with loyal, die-hard fans.''
Rose bases his belief on several factors: The championship history of the franchise, the team's popularity, the salary cap space that will allow roster flexibility, and the team they already have assembled -- including him as the point guard.
Rose, only in his second season, played in his first NBA All-Star Game last month in Dallas. He is averaging 20.6 points, 5.8 assists and 3.7 rebounds, a combination of key statistics that only James, Wade and Chris Paul can match.
Although the Bulls have struggled lately without Joakim Noah around the basket, Rose has stepped up his game, averaging 26.6 points, 6.1 assists and 2.9 rebounds in the last seven. In his last two, he had 25 points and 13 assists against Deron Williams and Utah, and 34 points and 8 assists against Jason Kidd and Dallas.
There isn't a young point guard more appealing today than Rose in Chicago.
As a Chicago native, his popularity continues to soar. He became Chicago's first All-Star since Michael Jordan left the team. He also became the youngest All-Star (21 years, 133 days) in franchise history. Just the thought of teaming Wade (also from Chicago) in the Bulls backcourt next season has the franchise frothing.
It easily would be the best backcourt in the league. Yet James at small forward or Bosh at power forward/center also could be a seamless fit.
Rose now is trying to will the Bulls back to the playoffs for the second consecutive year. They are battling Charlotte and Miami for one of the last two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
Rose also knows that if the Bulls replace the Heat in the playoff picture (the two teams play Friday night), it might help tip the balance in Chicago's favor this summer.
"I've never really hung out with [Wade]. He's older than me, but I'd love to play with him,'' Rose said. "It's important how we finish [this season]. It would help us. He might say, 'If they made the playoffs without me, how good would they be if they had me?'''