Despite a hot-and-cold relationship with Bulls fans and a drop down in the organizational pecking order behind Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose says he doesn't want to play anywhere but Chicago.
"That's still true. Still true," Rose told Nick Friedell of ESPN.com of wanting to retire in Chicago. "Just having my son [P.J.], I'm doing all this because of my son now, you know? Just wanting to be around him every day, having him come up here, shoot with me or see me shooting til he's able to become a ball boy. Little things like that I think about long term. Just trying to get him groomed, trying to get him used to being in the environment."
Rose, 27, is in the midst of a difficult all-around season. He's averaging a career-low 14.9 points, 4.9 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game while shooting just 40 percent from the field.
An orbital fracture suffered in the preseason has been a huge factor in Rose's performance, as he's been forced to wear a mask, essentially playing with one eye. Rose's play has recently taken an uptick since removing the mask—he's shooting 49.2 percent and averaging 18.5 points in January—a decision that came against doctor's advice.
15 Yrs Ago, LBJ Inked the Biggest Rookie Shoe Deal Ever
Chinese Fans Keep It 100 with LBJ Nicknames
Sixers Welcomed Meek Home in Style 👀
Mitchell Breaks MJ’s Rookie Playoff Record
Collin Sexton Could Be Next Eric Bledsoe
Andre Ingram Put on a Show in His NBA Debut
Turner's Showcase Giving Overlooked Ballers a Chance
Raptors Have Dominated Since 'God's Plan'
Jimmy Was Clowning While He Was Hurt
Simmons Averaging a Triple Double Over Win Streak
Mo Bamba Could Be the Next Rudy Gobert
Jason Kidd, Steve Nash Headline Basketball HoF Class
Mikal Bridges Could Be NBA's Next Otto Porter Jr.
Today in History: MJ Scores Career-High 69 Pts
Could LiAngelo Join Lonzo on the Lakers?
Dwight Joins Love & Kareem with Historic 30/30 Night
Westbrook's Road to 100 Triple-Doubles
The NBA Is a Mess in the Best Way Possible
The NBA Still Has a Massive Tanking Problem
Rodman Is Living His Best Life in New Jersey Suburbs
"Just having faith. Having faith," Rose said of how he's dealt with his injury issues. "That's one of the reasons why I took my mask off. I wasn't supposed to take it off. I wanted to take it off because it's like I'm hiding behind something. And I took it off and it's been going good."
Rose, of course, has spent more time on the bench than the court since suffering a torn ACL in the 2012 playoffs. He missed the entire 2012-13 season, sat out all but 10 games the following year and has struggled mightily to regain his form ever since. Amazingly, this has been his healthiest season in a half-decade, and he's spent the majority of it with double vision.
Over time, Rose has gone from beloved hometown hero to perhaps Chicago's most polarizing athlete. Some fans are eager to move on from the injury-riddled star, and Butler's emergence as a two-way player has made that transition easier.
Rose will make more than $94 million over the life of his current contract, per Spotrac.com. That's been a major issue for some, who see Rose's injury issues and salary as the reason this Bulls core has never reached its full potential. Rose told Friedell he understands and doesn't get angry at the criticism:
Never. Never. I can't get mad about people's opinions, I always say that. That's their opinion. They got every right to say or think whatever they want to say and think. And whatever they say and think don't affect my life. I don't live in that world where I'm on social media, I don't got social media. Or I'm reading articles [about my game], so it's like I hear stuff by word of mouth a couple of days after so it never gets to me. So I can't get mad about what they say.
As for whether Rose actually finishes his career in Chicago, that seems overwhelmingly unlikely. The number of players who start and conclude their careers in the same place is smaller than ever in the free-agency era. There also has to be a sect of the Bulls organization that looks forward to more stability at the point guard spot, something Rose hasn't been able to provide for a while now.
Given his salary and production level, Rose should be with the Bulls through the end of next season. All bets are off afterward.
Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter