Derrick Rose: 'A new beginning'

Updated: August 1, 2014, 4:54 PM ET
By Nick Friedell | ESPNChicago.com

LAS VEGAS -- Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose acknowledged Thursday that there is lingering tension between some members of his inner-circle and members of the team's organization.

"I know it's been there,'' Rose told the Chicago Sun-Times. "I heard there were some upset people. I'm happy I didn't personally see it. I don't want to see that. I kind of wonder where it was coming from because it seemed like whenever I was around, everything was all right. It bothered me because when I wasn't around, I would hear from certain people that everything wasn't all right.''

The tension Rose discussed has been widely speculated upon over the years, especially after the former MVP's recent injury woes. Bulls executive vice president John Paxson tried to allay those concerns during an appearance on ESPN 1000's "Waddle and Silvy Show" on Thursday.

"I know I personally talk to Derrick," Paxson said. "I don't talk to people in his so called 'camp.' I don't even know who that [is]."

While there's no clear-cut start as to where the bad blood began, there are plenty of clues as to why things got so bad. B.J. Armstrong, one of Rose's agents, is believed to have some lingering harsh feelings at the way his relationship with the organization ended. In more recent developments, Rose's brother, Reggie, expressed his disappointment with the fact the Bulls had not surrounded his brother with more talent and didn't make any big moves at the 2013 deadline.

[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose
AP Photo/John LocherDerrick Rose acknowledged lingering tensions between his inner-circle and the Bulls, but said it is a new beginning for everybody.

"It's frustrating to see my brother play his heart and soul out for the team and them not put anything around him," Reggie Rose told ESPNChicago.com at the time.

When Derrick Rose didn't return to play during the 2012-13 season as he recovered from a torn ACL in his left knee, the organization supported him publicly. But many privately questioned why he wasn't on the floor after being medically cleared by team doctors.

The tension grew even deeper last season after Rose tore the meniscus in his right knee and missed the rest of the year after playing in just 10 games. What exacerbated things between the organization and Rose's inner circle in recent weeks, sources told the Sun-Times, is the fact that the 25-year-old didn't take a more active approach in the free-agent recruiting process, especially with Carmelo Anthony. Rose acknowledged on Monday that he had spoken to Anthony, but there were many within the organization that wished he had done more.

Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf refuted the report Thursday.

"I am confounded by the irresponsible report in the Chicago Sun-Times suggesting there is anything approaching discord or confusion between the Bulls executive office, coaching staff, and Derrick Rose or any other Bulls player," he said in a statement. "To the contrary, I can remember no time when the organization has been any more focused, optimistic, and cohesive. I've got to assume suggestions otherwise are intended to undermine the goals and objectives, spirit, and reputation of the Chicago Bulls. I am deeply disappointed that unnamed sources and totally inaccurate statements and assumptions can be used to foment nonexistent friction. The report is totally without basis or fact. It is pure malicious fiction."

Paxson, meanwhile, tried to put the latest uproar regarding Rose to rest.

"Every player's different," Paxson said. "And Derrick did his part at the end of the day. He talked to all the players that we were interested in. The sad thing is that so much of what was reported and put out there, it was contradictory. One day Derrick's not participating, the next day he is, there's never anyone who attaches a name to any of the information. It's just all out there as fact. For you guys in the [sports radio] business maybe it's healthy because you have a lot of things to talk about, but for us all it does is muddy the waters. We get criticized all the time because we're not addressing all these things that are out there, well most of the time there's no truth to them."

Rose's acknowledgment of the ongoing issues behind the scenes put somewhat of a damper on all the good feelings coming from his time at Team USA's camp. Players and coaches have been raving about his play heading into Friday's scrimmage, with many believing he can come back to playing at the same MVP level he was at before the first knee injury. Rose is clearly trying to focus on the present instead of looking back on what's happened in the past.

"It seems like everybody has one goal, from the front office all the way down now,'' Rose told the Sun-Times. "It seems like everyone is finally communicating with each other. That's all we need. You think about all the championship teams, they say that communication and one goal is usually the recipe. You take away all the other [stuff] and just make it simple.

"This is a new beginning for everybody. We've got a new practice facility, a new year where I'm coming back, and we have some great talent. It's time to turn the page and move in a positive direction.''

That seemed to be Paxson's approach, as well.

"My relationship with Derrick and Gar's relationship with Derrick, I've never considered it to have any issues," Paxson said. "I always worry about, there's always people with agendas out there, that are not favorable to the team and sometimes not favorable to that individual player, Derrick in this case. There's a lot of people that attach themselves to certain players -- and look, our only goal is try and win. And we've always respected Derrick as a person from the day we drafted him.

"We've done nothing but respect and support him from the very beginning. So the only tension I would ever care about is if there was tension between myself Gar or Tom and Derrick. If there's any other tension it's certainly not coming from us and I've never felt that it's had to be addressed, if I did, it would be addressed. But I've never felt it's had to be addressed because every time I've ever sat down with Derrick Rose he knows where I'm coming from and I think I know where he's coming from."

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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