- Melissa Isaacson, Columnist, ESPNChicago.com
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"It's definitely getting old where I'm sick and tired of hearing it," Rose said Thursday night before the Bulls faced the Magic at the United Center. "Like I've said, this city speaks for itself. Chicago, marketing wise, is a great city. If someone chooses to come here, they definitely could, but I'm cool with the teammates that I have.
"We have a winning record. It's not like we have to change anything. But it's not up to me, it's up to the front office so if they make a decision, it's up to them."
But as the March 15 trade deadline nears, Howard does not dispute the perception that he wants to be "the guy" on whatever team he ends up on, leading to further discussion about how in Chicago his star power would be at least partially eclipsed by last season's NBA MVP.
"I don't think there's a player in the NBA that wants to be a nobody," the Magic center said after shootaround Thursday morning. "I think everybody wants to be that guy to take the last shot or be that guy that everybody is leaning on, for whatever reason.
"And I don't think there's any problem wanting to be that guy. I've been that guy for this team since I've been here. And my whole life I've been put in the position of leadership, and I take on that role and I love doing it. Just by what people think, it's very tough being a leader."
That doesn't mean Howard is averse to playing with another All-Star. Howard, who can opt out of his contract and become a free agent after this season, has let it be known he wants to be traded. And at the top of his list reportedly is the New Jersey Nets, who are led by perennial All-Star Deron Williams. The Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks also were on the list.
The Bulls weren't on the original list of teams Howard was interested in joining, although Howard subsequently said he loved Rose and was open to the idea. The Magic are hoping Howard will re-sign with Orlando.
"My thing is I want to win and I want to put my team in the best position," Howard said. "I've given Orlando eight hard years, everything I've got, and they all understand that.
"So that's where I'll keep it and not focus on what's going to happen tomorrow or the next day but just focus on the moment and that's the game tonight."
Rose and Howard have praised each other recently and implied they would be open to being teammates. Both have endorsement deals with adidas, and an executive with adidas said the shoe company would have no problem with them being on the same team.
Howard didn't comment specifically Thursday on playing for the Bulls, but he did joke about living in Chicago. Despite unseasonably warm temperatures recently, Howard said he wasn't envisioning living in Chicago.
"No, it's pretty cold here," he said. "It was cool here [Wednesday, when temperatures were in the 60s], so I had a chance to go out and see the city a little bit. It's a beautiful place. I've been here a couple of times."
As the March 15 trade deadline nears, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard did not dispute the perception that he wants to be "the guy" on whatever team he ends up on.