Derrick, time is ticking on your long-awaited return. Your hometown is growing more restless by the day, waiting for that moment to see their hero from Englewood take the ball up the court once again.
Despite your absence, your Chicago Bulls are staying afloat, but it is clear something of extreme importance is missing. Something that is ultimately keeping them from contending when this year's playoffs roll around.
The defense is there and the chemistry hasn't skipped a beat despite the major overhaul of the bench mob. While it is encouraging to see this continued style of team, you can tell the most important piece of the puzzle—your confidence, demeanor and most importantly your style of play—has not been placed on the court.
They need your fearless ability to take the rock from the top of the key and slash straight to the rim in the blink of an eye, the unfazed look on your face setting up with LeBron James barely giving you space to breathe—the mentality to look at the clock ticking down and knowing you will be the man to take that final shot.
Nobody on this team can do that—not a single guy. Everybody on this team has their role, but if this season has taught the city of Chicago anything, none of them can fill in the shoes of a superstar.
Your teammates are about to hit a wall, one that they likely did not foresee before the All Star break. The Bulls were playing well, staying relevant in the Eastern Conference—their roots carrying them to that continued elite status of the last three years.
Loul Deng, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer have all been playing at a higher level in your absence, but you can just tell that they are running out of that juice to do it on their own.
Your general manager Gar Forman and VP John Paxson stood pat at the trade deadline, not trading a single piece as this squad was built around you—now, more than ever, they need you.
Don't worry about the things your brother is saying. He may be family and your manager, but he isn't your Chicago Bulls family. Don't let your team's inactivity sway your choice. What other talent was there to get? Nothing that wouldn't have cost the Bulls another arm and a leg.
The biggest move this team needs is to see you back on the court—that would be a big enough game-changing moment to make this team the title contender it can be.
Deng and Noah were both All Stars this season—three years after you were the first Bulls All Star since Jordan was in '98. This team is at an all-time high, and while your brother doesn't believe it, this is your supporting cast that will bring that seventh title to Chicago.
Maybe you are not exactly ready. Trust us, we don't want you to rush and re-injure yourself. But we all saw what you were doing before the game against the Thunder—you are closer than ever. Sure, you were going up against an open net, but your dunk was clean and there was clearly no buckle in your leg as you came down.
You look ready, you look like you want to get back out there and dominate the league like you have over the years.
Take a look at the standings. Your boys are sitting just nine games out of first place and only three behind the Indiana Pacers in the Central Division. After how the Pacers played in last year's playoffs, many expected that this team would struggle against your division rivals, but to only be this far behind shows that this team is still close to contending.
With you out there, this team will take back what is theirs. Could you guys reclaim the top seed? Maybe, but that doesn't matter. What matters is having the entire Chicago Bulls team out on the floor as it should be.
They simply won't contend without their leader on the floor—it won't happen. We were promised a return, and we are still waiting for it to happen. Remember how you gave all of Chicago hope with your adidas Wake Up commercial?
The commercial spoke for the city. Everybody was stuck grieving after your injury, but it gave each and every person a reason to believe that you were going to overcome this obstacle and keep the winning tradition alive in Chicago.
Less than a third of the season is still in play, and your team needs you. More importantly, your city needs you. We need you back on the court to breathe life back into our team, our city.
Nobody expects you to return in the next game, or the game after that, but we need you to return before the playoffs start. Get back out there with your team, get used to the pace of the game and then show the rest of the league why you guys have stood at the top of the league standings the last two seasons.
Hesitation should be natural, but you know what is right. Nobody is expecting you to average 20 points or eight assists per game, let alone playing over 30 minutes, but your presence on the court could overhaul this season in a major way.
It will motivate your teammates and the city of Chicago, enough of a push to catapult the Bulls back into title contention, picking up the pieces where you left off when you were carried off the floor.
We need you Derrick. We need you more than ever and there is no better time than now to announce your preparation to return to the league.
Return to the court No. 1 and bring this city back to the front of the pack.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!