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CHICAGO -- Like his Miami Heat teammate Juwan Howard, Chris Bosh says that if he had a vote for the MVP award he would vote for the Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose, instead of his own teammate LeBron James.
"Just looking at it, LeBron's won the last two," said Bosh, whose Heat play the Bulls on Thursday night. "He is my teammate, I would say him first. But Derrick, he's had a phenomenal season. Just looking at what he's done with the team and looking at their record, and how improved they are as a team, and how much improved he is as a player, I think it's close.
"But yeah, I think I would give it to Derrick if I were a voter. He's playing well. He's playing like the best point guard in the league and the best player in the league. He's the most valuable player if you really think about it. You take him out of the lineup there's no telling what you get."
Howard made national headlines Wednesday after he said he would choose Rose over James for the award.
"I'm not even being politically correct, normally guys say I'm giving it to LeBron, but honestly I'll give it to [Rose]," Howard said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "If he stays on this pace that he's on right now, he's got my vote if I was part of the committee."
Howard did not back off those comments on Thursday morning.
"I'm thinking about this from a basketball standpoint," he said. "No favoritism or anything like that. It's just my opinion, and I'll stick by it."
When told of Howard's statements, James responded, "Everyone has their own opinion, you can't change anyone's opinion."
"The award isn't named after myself," James said. "There's guys that have come before me and there's guys that go after me that win the award. It's not like it's mine. I just go out there and do what I need to do every night to help our team win basketball games. Like I always keep saying, team success comes with individual accolades. D-Rose is having an unbelievable season and more to help this team be a contender. There's no way you can mention the MVP race without mentioning his name."
But James has an MVP supporter in teammate Dwyane Wade.
"Derrick's having a great year," Wade said. "I don't have a vote, but of course Derrick's one of the guys who is a front-runner. He's got to finish out this year strong. Of course, I believe LeBron is a front-runner as well. Them two guys are the leaders of this MVP run, and I'm going to be biased and choose my teammate. There's no question about it, so you can't ask me."
Wouldn't Wade, a fellow Chicagoan, vote for Rose?
"No," he said with a laugh. "Absolutely not ... He's doing great. But MVP is about, you got to finish up strong. You got to lead your team. This is the time where you really start looking at MVP [candidates] and see who finishes out the strongest.
"But he's done a great job with even putting himself to even be in the discussion early in his career, so kudos to him for that. It's kind of like Chris Paul, I think it was like his third year, he was in discussion to win MVP. Kobe [Bryant] won it that year, but he could have easily won it as well."
Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.