People say that it's a rivalry, but I don't really see it. Rose said before scoring 32 points in the team's 103-98 win against the Pacers. I say the team that is more like a rivalry is when Darren Collison was on the team. That one was more like a rivalry, but this team is a great team. They've already proven themselves last year by making it to the Eastern Conference finals.
If anything, by probably in a year or two, it could become a rival. But right now, people say it's a rival. ... I just don't see it right now.
So the Pacers are great and they play in Chicago's division, but they're not a rival. Allllrighty then.
Rose went on to say that Indiana's decision to go a different route with their roster helped spur the demise of the rivalry, which again is weird. The Pacers made changes to get better, to become a more menacing opponent. How does that kill the rivalry? Seriously, I'm actually asking.
Instead of delving deeper into Rose's suspect methodology, I'll chalk his take up to his only having eyes for the Miami Heat.
"If you want say [that], yeah," he said, per Friedell. "For sure, Miami."
Most definitely Miami.
Chicago hasn't gotten worse; Rose's return makes the Bulls better. Their sights aren't set on staying healthy or making it past the second round of the playoffs—they want to win a championship now.
"Oh, yeah," he explained previously, via Friedell. "That's the goal. That's our No. 1 goal is winning the title. We're not worried about anything else."
With that mindset, it's only fitting that the Bulls are gunning for the Heat over the Pacers. Though they came close, the Pacers aren't the reigning Eastern Conference champs; the Heat are.
"I think Chicago will always be a rival," Danny Granger posited, per Friedell.
Intra-division opponents are always rivals. There's always a little extra something to play for when these two Central Division foes square off.
But the Pacers aren't the Heat. They don't have LeBron James. They didn't eliminate the Rose-less Bulls from the postseason in 2013. They're not the ones embarking on a quest for a three-peat.
Considering they no longer have Darren Collison either—who was apparently the glue that held this rivalry together—the Pacers are lucky Rose is giving them the courtesy of a verbal slight, instead of just asking "Who?"