Every week, ESPNChicago.com's Nick Friedell is joined by two other ESPN writers to weigh in on three questions that are on the minds of Chicago Bulls followers.
1. Given his uncertain long-term durability, does Derrick Rose need to recruit free agents now more than ever?
Friedell: Probably but he has said repeatedly he's not going to do it so there's no reason to think that's going to change now. The good news for the Bulls is that they have a guy in Joakim Noah who loves recruiting. He did a lot of that while he was at the University of Florida. It would help if Rose put in a phone call, but Noah can handle the heavy lifting.
Jon Greenberg, ESPNChicago.com columnist: Yes and no. This is the most over-covered, unimportant storyline about Rose. How often does recruitment work? Does anyone actually do it? It's more myth than reality and rather dismissive of grown men's own free will. The Heat triumvirate came together during one summer, three friends who wanted to play together somewhere, and it's safe to say Pat Riley and the beautiful city of Miami (compared to say, Cleveland) did as much of the recruiting of LeBron James as Dwyane Wade. As it is, it is not Rose's natural inclination to "recruit," he's not the type to favor famous friends, but it wouldn't hurt to drop a "What's up" text or send some flowers to Carmelo Anthony, right? Otherwise, let Tom Thibodeau do the convincing -- he's very good at this -- and let Noah host the parties. Rose can recruit best by simply being healthy.
Scoop Jackson, ESPN.com columnist: This is a yes/no answer. And neither is wrong. The reality of "yes" is that there needs to be some insurance in place in case Derrick is not the same when he comes back or if he goes down again. The "no" in this scenario is asking Derrick to do it. Not saying that it isn't his job (technically it isn't; that's why teams have GMs and presidents of basketball operations, etc.) but asking Derrick to do it is akin to him admitting defeat or surrendering to a reality that hasn't proven itself to be real. Part of finding out if he can ever get back to that elite level of play is based on his confidence and belief (and drive and determination) that he can still be that dude who can make it happen. That between he, Noah and Thibs and one more player to replace Luol Deng they can make a run at a ring. But I believe if he's asked to go out and do something that is not in his nature like help recruit someone to "help" him, it will be the first step in losing him. And in him losing himself.
2. Should the Bulls have any hesitation regarding Rose's participation with Team USA this summer?
Friedell: No. Rose needs to see where his game is at and so do the Bulls. They need to know what kind of shape he is in as they get ready to start the season. They need to see how he performs against high-level competition. This is good for all involved.
Greenberg: No, this is exactly what he needs. Competition. Rose has rehabbed for most of the past two years. Now it's time to play. Rose famously refuses to play pickup ball in the summer, and while he feverishly works out with NBA players and a trainer, it would probably help him to come into camp with an edge and in game shape. Remember, his MVP season came after a run with the national team. He won't have to carry Team USA, but he needs to work this summer. And let's face it, being cautious after the first knee injury, while wise, didn't exactly guarantee him good health, did it? Rose is almost 26, there's no need to save him from himself.
Jackson: No. None at all. In my mind, they should actually welcome it. Derrick needs to play ball. Plain and simple. He needs to work off all of the rust, work out the kinks, get the feel back, regain that confidence that has to have waned a bit given all that has happened and basically see what he can do. I would much rather have that happen on the world stage when the pressure for him to perform won't be the same for him as it will under the microscope he'll be but under once he's back in a Bulls uniform. Derrick is not going to be expected to save or carry the USA this summer, but here in Chi, he still is.
3. Will Joakim Noah be able to put up the same numbers next season with Rose?
Friedell: No. That's because he isn't going to have the ball in his hands as much. With Rose back, Noah won't have to serve as much as the de facto point guard like he did so often over the past season. Noah will put up plenty of big numbers, they just won't be as high as they were a season ago.
Greenberg: Possibly. Who cares? This isn't a team that cares much about statistics. From the top man on down, it's a team that thrives on winning. Noah's value is more than how many assists he picks up or how many points he scores. He is one of basketball's great winners, and thus, he will be more valuable with a former MVP running the show. He's improved greatly since Rose was last fully healthy, turning into an All-Star. And I think there will still be room for him to do some playmaking from the perimeter. Wouldn't it be nice to see him feeding a cutting Rose? Fist pumps and finger guns for all.
Jackson: No. Only because the Bulls will eventually get someone in free agency who will take the pressure off Jo to do all that he had to do this season. The requirement for him to score hopefully will not be there next season, neither should the demand for him to get double digits in boards. So those numbers should drop. But the assist numbers (hopefully) will stay the same if not improve as well as blocks, hustle points and 50/50 numbers that don't appear on all these over-emphasized stat sheets. Now, if Noah chooses to put up the same numbers, then that's a different story, different answer. I just don't think he will based on the yet-proven fact that the desperation for him to do it will no longer be there ever again.