- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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"I try not to think about it because he's not with us, but just knowing what type of player he is and how he is playing with his team right now, I think we will be pretty good if he chooses to come," Rose said.
Howard seemed open in January to the idea of playing with the Bulls, expressing his "love" for Rose and calling him his "brother" in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.
"I haven't had time to talk to him like that, but I heard that he was thinking about coming here, coming to Chicago," Rose said. "Like I said, I don't go out and recruit people. But Chicago speaks for itself. It's a great market and city, and I think that if anyone chooses to come there, it's a great city to be in."
The 26-year-old Howard, who is averaging 20.1 points and 15.3 rebounds this season, can opt out of his current deal after this season.
When pressed, Rose admitted that it would be 'crazy' if he played with Howard.
"I'm cool with the teammates that I have," Rose said. "But if you want to make up your own fantasy and say 'Would it be crazy if we played together?' Yeah ..."
Rose was then asked specifically if he would deal Bulls' center Joakim Noah in a potential deal for Howard.
"I really don't know what I would [do]. I'm a player. If I was a general manager ..."
When asked who he would rather play with, Howard or Noah, Rose responded this way.
"I'm picking Joakim," Rose said. "I'm riding with Joakim. He's like a big brother to me. Of course, Dwight is with adidas and everything, there's no hard feeling there. But Joakim is much more than a teammate to me."
The potential Howard for Noah deal was a topic of conversation for other All-Stars as well.
"Well you don't know until they get on the team," Heat forward LeBron James said. "It's easy to say what could happen on paper, but I think coach Thibs would do a good job of getting those guys together, but let's not discount what they already have. Joakim Noah is a really good talent. He just showed it having a triple double as a center. That just shows you how talented he is. I don't want to discount [him]. So if they get Dwight, they have to give up somebody. So we'll see. We'll see what happens."
Rose, who has spent plenty of time with Howard in the past few years as an adidas spokesperson, knows that the Magic center is going through an emotional time with all the trade speculation.
"It's tough," Rose said. "I'm happy that's not in Chicago right now. Where it's a lot of pressure on him right now. At the same time, I know that he's happy [the All-Star Game] is here. I know the city is happy it's here and he's just living it up right now."
Rose continued to deny a report that claimed he asked Bulls management to push for a trade for Lakers forward Pau Gasol.
"It distracted me a little bit like after the game [Monday]," Rose said. "People said that I wanted Carlos Boozer to be traded for Pau Gasol. That's something I never said. I don't recruit players. People just make anything up to sell newspapers, I guess."
"It's no distraction. I talked to Booz right afterwards and told him that it wasn't true. He didn't believe it. You could tell the way that he played, that game [on Monday], when that statement came out that he didn't believe it. He came out and played a great game. So we're on the same page. And our goal is to win a championship."
Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.
2dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann