You don’t have to be a Bulls fan to follow the story. If you’re a basketball fan, you should want to see D-Rose back on the court and healthy. As a result, NBA fans are susceptible to absurd conspiracies from different sources. The random speculation continues to cloud the outlook of a Rose return.
Social media has begun to play with the heads of basketball fans (Bulls fans specifically). Perhaps the most egregious case to this point occurred via Facebook on March 26.
One day prior to the Bulls snapping the Miami Heat’s 27-game win streak, the Facebook page “Derrick Rose Fans,” described as “a fan page of the Chicago Bulls star and the best NBA point guard Derrick Rose,” got its Master’s degree in trolling Chicago fans.
The fan page lit up the Internet with its false claim that Rose was returning to play against the streaking Heat on March 27. The page director also claimed that ESPN was reporting the news. They weren’t.
Although I’m not a fan of the page (and never will be following the farce), the “breaking news” showed up in my feed anyway. Commenters on Facebook asked for a link to the story, which the director claimed to have, but never posted.
Naturally, I did some digging to try and find a reputable source. ESPN had no reports of a Rose return, while Twitter was a mix of ecstatically duped Bulls fans and those who were aware of the false information.
Ultimately, this proved to be an attention grabber and nothing more, as Rose did not return for the game against Miami.
The Facebook fan page credited ESPN for breaking the news, but perhaps it should have plugged rapper Waka Flocka Flame.
On the same infamous March 26 date, rapper Juaquin Malphurs tweeted that D-Rose was making a comeback, followed by a hashtag that utilized a curse word.
Of course, as we all know, Rose was not making his much-anticipated comeback against the Heat. Waka Flocka Flame’s tweet led to this sarcastic gem from Bill Barnwell of Grantland.com via Twitter:
The lesson, as always, don’t get your Derrick Rose news from random Facebook pages or rappers. Heck, even Rose laughed about the Waka Flocka Flame tweet, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.
Anyway, the point is to trust a dependable source, especially with a topic as delicate as Rose’s return to the hardwood.
The truth of the matter is that there’s a chance D-Rose may not return at all this season, which is something his brother and manager Reggie Rose has already hinted at.
According to Scott Powers of ESPN Chicago, Reggie Rose ripped into the Chicago Bulls' franchise in February. He essentially chastised the franchise for not bringing in enough pieces around Rose to compete for a championship. This could mean that Rose won't return until next season under the watchful eye of his brother Reggie.
That's certainly a fickle scenario, though, considering that Luol Deng and Joakim Noah were both All-Stars this season. That doesn't even mention the play of Carlos Boozer and Jimmy Butler (solid role players in their own right). Even so, the season could play out with Derrick not returning due to Reggie's point of view.
Another conspiracy theory that has been making the rounds in basketball circles is the relationship between Rose and his handlers at Adidas. According to an article by Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes, Adidas suffered a massive marketing blow when D-Rose went down with injury because he wouldn't be featured on the USA Olympic basketball team.
Adidas has been playing up advertisements including Rose called the return, but is a return imminent for Rose?
There are skeptics who believe that Adidas has a hand in Rose's decision, much like his brother Reggie Rose seems to have. Perhaps it would be in the company's best interest for their star to sit until next season as he continues to rehab his knee.
If the Bulls' captain doesn't make a return, it would be devastating for a Bulls team that has fought its way into the playoff picture. However, Rose isn’t going to risk a promising NBA career by coming back before he’s 110 percent. In fact, that's something Rose himself has already said, according to Zillgitt.
Back in August, I entertained that Rose may not make his return to the court until April of 2013. If he does indeed make a return this season, April seems to be the correct prediction (even though it was admittedly pessimistic at the time). But again, that’s if Rose decides to come back in the near future.
But should the 2009 Rookie of the Year award winner and 2011 NBA MVP push himself to return when the Bulls are arguably less talented than they were a season ago? Chicago did lose backup center Omer Asik to the Houston Rockets, while backup point guard C.J. Watson left for the Brooklyn Nets.
Can this team compete for a championship against the Eastern Conference juggernaut Miami Heat? A healthy Rose would be a major X-factor in that equation.
I don’t have the insight needed to predict a D-Rose return. However, if he does come back this season, I believe he’ll do so with games remaining in the regular season in an attempt to work himself into a certain level of comfort. Coming back in a high-octane playoff atmosphere probably isn’t the best way for Chicago to welcome their star back.
As a basketball fan, I absolutely want to see Rose back this season. By that same token, however, I don’t want Rose to rush back and risk further injury.
Ultimately it will be the decision of coaches, doctors and, of course, Rose. If he makes a return, we’ll all be excited to watch. If he waits until next season, you can’t blame him for playing it safe.