9:15pm: Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf released an official statement disputing Cowley’s report.
“I am confounded by the irresponsible report in the Chicago Sun-Times suggesting there is anything approaching discord or confusion between the Bulls executive office, coaching staff, and Derrick Rose or any other Bulls player,” the owner said. “To the contrary, I can remember no time when the organization has been any more focused, optimistic, and cohesive. I’ve got to assume suggestions otherwise are intended to undermine the goals and objectives, spirit, and reputation of the Chicago Bulls. I am deeply disappointed that unnamed sources and totally inaccurate statements and assumptions can be used to foment nonexistent friction. The report is totally without basis or fact. It is pure malicious fiction.”
Rose is on the record in acknowledging the tension in Cowley’s story, but perhaps Reinsdorf takes issue with the specifics of the disconnect portrayed by the Chicago Sun-Times scribe’s sources.
5:03pm: Derrick Rose acknowledged tension between his camp and the Bulls organization and is working diligently to heal the wounds, as he told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. The discord, which has resulted in a growing lack of communication between Rose and the team, stemmed from potshots that Rose’s camp, one that includes brother Reggie Rose and agent B.J. Armstrong, took at the franchise, according to Cowley. It boiled over with Rose’s seeming reluctance to recruit Carmelo Anthony, as Cowley writes.
A source tells Cowley that Rose resisted the team’s efforts to get him to talk to Anthony after a workout Rose conducted at the United Center on the day of the team’s meeting with the star free agent. Rose ultimately had a conversation with Anthony, and this week Rose detailed what he told the high-scoring forward, seemingly casting it as somewhat more than the brief hello that one of a few conflicting reports about the meeting suggested it was.
Cowley hears that Bulls officials didn’t know that Rose wouldn’t show up at the team’s dinner with Anthony that evening and were “irate.” Rose was nonetheless an enthusiastic recruiter of Pau Gasol, Cowley notes.
“That’s someone that I knew I could play with,’’ Rose told Cowley about why he recruited the Spanish-born center. “You think about Pau, him now being in the East, what he’ll be able to achieve with the way we play, the way we dump the ball in the post a lot. It could be great.’’
Armstrong is a former Bulls executive who, Cowley hears, harbors ill feelings toward Bulls vice president of basketball operations John Paxson, though Armstrong vehemently denies such an assertion. Rose’s contract with the Bulls runs for three more seasons, and it doesn’t contain any option clauses, so Armstrong would be unable to take his client to free agency until 2017.