For the good of his franchise and fans, for everyone's focus to be where it should belong now – Bulls-Heat, Game 1 on Monday – Rose needs to drop the illusion that his return in these playoffs remains a consideration.
"Who knows?" Rose told reporters hours on Saturday. "It's still up in the air."
Who knows? Derrick Rose knows. His choice has been made to sit out the season and it includes no provisions for turning back, sources with direct knowledge told Yahoo! Sports.
Admittedly, this isn't the most shocking of developments. Rose has previously made it clear that he will sit out the entire season if need be.
All along, however, we'd been led to believe that there was a chance he could come back. With the exception of the Bulls themselves, everyone operated under the assumption that the former MVP didn't know what he would do yet.
But apparently, he does.
His decision comes as no surprise, of course. At 24, there is little reason for him to put the next 10 years of his career in jeopardy if he's not ready to perform—both mentally and physically. Able-bodied (and minded) or not, though, he has an obligation to be forthcoming.
Joakim Noah led the Bulls past the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs on one foot. He, Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson spent a majority of the season playing through all kinds of abrasions as well, all in the name of winning.
Although none of that is cause enough for Rose to put his future at risk, he owes it to his teammates and the city of Chicago to be candid.
We already know that the Bulls aren't functioning under the illusion that he'll return at any given moment. They've elected to plan as if he won't. But Rose's uncertain status has created an unnecessary distraction for both the team and the city.
Our question is this, then: Why not just come clean? Because of "The Return" campaign?
That's not good enough.
Adidas, along with Rose himself, will be lambasted for documenting a return that wasn't. Withholding an already-made decision won't change that. Their day of verbal reckoning will come. Deflecting inquiries into Rose's immediate future simply prolongs the inevitable—and it makes a mockery of the support he's received.
They've had his back every step of the way.
Now it seems Rose hasn't been genuine through this process. For whatever reason, he has allowed his "return" to become a facade. A painstakingly elongated ruse. An act of deception he has to cease. Not by playing, but by putting an end to the duplicity and conceding to the truth.
No matter how foreign a concept that may be at this point.
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