2012-13 salary: $16,402,500 | Age: 24 | Season stats: DNP
Season recap: Rose didn't play a single second for the Bulls this season as he recovered from knee surgery but his presence, or lack thereof, dominated everything within the Bulls organization. Most in the organization figured he would be back at some point after the All-Star break or in early March, but when it didn't happen the story hovered over everything the Bulls did.
Season highlight: Rose's pregame warmup sessions were more entertaining than some regular season games. Fans watched his every move and cheered with seemingly every dribble and push to the rim. The idea that Rose would eventually return lingered over the Bulls all the way until the end of the postseason.
Season lowlight: Rose's inner circle and the Bulls organization didn't handle his availability to the media and fans well. Rose spoke on Oct. 1, the team's media day, and then did not speak again until mid-February when he told USA Today he was "far away" from returning. If Rose's inner circle and/or the Bulls had pushed him to give more frequent updates about his condition, and be more open about the fact he may miss the entire season, the backlash regarding his decision may not have been as severe.
Final grades:Regular season: Inc. Postseason: Inc.
Notes: Rose's pristine image took a major hit this year. Once universally beloved in Chicago, Rose's decision not to play angered a faction of Bulls fans who couldn't believe that he hadn't returned after being medically cleared to play in mid-February. The fact that the Bulls advanced to the second round of the playoffs, despite the fact that several players were playing through various injuries and illnesses, made the spotlight on Rose's decision even worse. If Rose puts up 20 points a game a game, his decision will be forgotten quickly by many. But if he struggles in his return he will face more criticism than ever.
Quotes: "I really don't know," Rose on Feb. 13, while discussing if he would return this season. "I'm feeling good but like I said if it's where it's taking me a long time and I'm still not feeling right I don't mind missing this year."
What's next?: Rose will spend most of the summer working out in the Los Angeles area as he continues to get his body in order for a return in October. After sitting out the entire season and facing the type of criticism he has never felt before, there will be more pressure than ever on Rose to produce at a high level.