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Amid all the hoopla surrounding teams' recruiting pitches to the most heralded free agent class in NBA history this summer, the Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose took a low-key approach in his wooing of LeBron James.
Rose sent James a text. First reported in an article in this week's issue of Sports Illustrated, Rose confirmed Wednesday that he remembers the text reading: "I'm just hitting you up to kill all the rumors that I don't want to play with you. I'd like to play with you. I just want to win."
Of course, a few days later James joined Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. The decision surprised Rose, who over the summer said James coming to Chicago seemed like a "no-brainer."
When James decided to head elsewhere, Rose and the Bulls quickly moved on, netting free agents Carlos Boozer, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, C.J. Watson, Kurt Thomas and Keith Bogans.
On Wednesday, Rose said he doesn't begrudge James for making the decision he made.
"No, he's his own person where he had the opportunity to make any choice he wanted to make," Rose said. "You can't blame a person for that so that's the way I looked at it."
The Bulls trail James' Heat by a game for the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Rose is considered a front-runner -- along with James -- for league MVP.
Rose admitted that James is his biggest competitor for MVP honors.
"Yeah, he is," Rose said. "And along with a couple of more players, but he is right there so they're playing good basketball, he's playing good basketball, but we will have to see.
"[James is] playing with a lot of confidence. He has players on his team that are great players, and they're playing good together. And this year, I think he's killing people with his passing, more than anything. He's like a point guard, he sticks the point guard the majority of time, towards the end of the game and he's a matchup problem."
The Bulls are 2-0 against the Heat on the season. Chicago will face Miami for the third time this coming Sunday.
"You want to play against the best people, it makes you better as a player, and you learn from it," Rose said. "So the last two games [against them] we won, but we can't be satisfied with that."ESPNChicago.com's Nick Friedell contributed to this report.