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Bulls OK with Rose not recruiting

1/29/2014 - NBA Derrick Rose Chicago Bulls + more

Chicago Bulls vice president John Paxson said Wednesday he would never ask Derrick Rose to recruit and doesn't believe the star guard's reluctance to do so will prevent the team from landing free agents.

"I personally would not have been comfortable doing that as a player. That was me, so I expect and appreciate where Derrick is coming from," Paxson said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN Chicago 1000.

"I would never tell a player, I don't think [owner] Jerry Reinsdorf or [general manager] Gar [Forman] would tell a player, 'Look, you have to do this.' If a player wants to do it, great. If he doesn't, that's his choice."

Paxson said players being around Rose during offseason workouts offers an indirect way to sell them on the Bulls.

"I know that Derrick has relationships with a lot of guys around the league. He spends his summers in L.A. working out with a lot of guys and I know he's got great relationships with people," Paxson said. "I do firmly believe that when you're around people you can sell yourself just being the person that you are, and we all know Derrick is a terrific young man.

"I don't see that as an impediment to us getting players here. I think at the end of the day people know who Derrick is and there are a lot of guys who would like to play with him."

Rose passed on recruiting LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and others in the summer of 2010 and has said as recently as September that his stance hasn't changed.

"I don't recruit. If anyone wants to play with me, I don't mind playing with, it could be anyone in the NBA, but as far as recruiting, I never did and never will," Rose told rappler.com, a social news network.

With Luol Deng off the books after a trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers, several players with expiring deals and a chance to use the amnesty clause on the final year of Carlos Boozer's contract, the Bulls could be in full recruitment mode this summer. A recent report said Carmelo Anthony is open to playing for the Bulls, although the team would have to clear significant salary cap space to make that happen.

Is the goal for the Bulls to clear as much cap space as possible to try to land a max contract player this summer?

"Not necessarily, because we have other avenues," Paxson said. "We still have some short-term contracts that can be used in deals and we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves. It's tough to play that game thinking that you're just going to unload, unload, unload and try to have as much money [as possible]. Sometimes you can have too much, I guess.

"The reason for doing the Deng deal has been obvious, we've stated it a number of times. It doesn't put us in a position right now to have max cap room this summer but it does give us the opportunity to have the ability to go out and pursue some guys and look at different avenues, whether it's through trading players or trading for players.

"It's a process. Now if somebody comes -- we've got three weeks now until the trade deadline and there hasn't really been any chatter at all from teams yet, but that's often the case when you're three weeks away -- we'll listen. But we're still a team that has played pretty well, and we like a lot of our pieces and we'll see where the year goes. People know that our guys don't quit, our coach doesn't quit and we don't quit, and we're just going to keep fighting away."

The Bulls have kept fighting without Rose, who was lost for the second straight season with a knee injury, and are a game back of the third seed in the Eastern Conference. With Rose making progress in his rehab -- he's now shooting during practice -- and the Bulls on track for a playoff berth, is it possible he could play this season?

"I'll say what we were told when he had the surgery and that is that he'd be out this year, the rest of this year," Paxson said. "That's the premise I'm operating under today. The one thing we don't want to get into is we get toward the end of the season and then the playoffs and all of a sudden there's talk.

"Nobody should get too far ahead and start the things that happened last year. We're not going to do it. I guess other people can. They can start throwing things out there, but we're not."