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The return: Could Derrick Rose be an option for the Bulls next season?

The return: Could Derrick Rose be an option for the Bulls next season?

Derrick Rose was his usual genuine and humble self on Wednesday morning after the Timberwolves’ shootaround inside the United Center. He answered questions, said all the right things about his 2018 resurgence and reiterated his love for Chicago.

He was also asked about the possibility of one day returning to the Bulls, and his honest response was anything but a non-answer.

“This is home for me. I’ll never leave Chicago,” Rose said. “I still have a place here, I’m always going to have a place here. My son is being raised here. This is home. You never know in the future, you never know."

Rose reiterated that he's fully committed to the success of his Timberwolves team, but the free agent-to-be also added that "this offseason, you never know what could happen.”

It was a heartfelt answer from Rose and, as is usually the case with him, revealed something. He didn't rule out the possibility of one day returning to the franchise that traded him for cents on the dollar three years earlier.

Could it happen as early as next season?

Let’s start with the obvious: The Bulls need help at point guard. Whether Kris Dunn becomes a legitimate starter or the next Marcus Smart, the depth chart has been an ugly revolving door. Cameron Payne is on his last legs, even with a front office that values him. And while Ryan Arcidiacono and Shaq Harrison have shown promise at times, they’re not exactly 82-game rotation players.

If the Bulls have a desire to win, moves need to be made.

Rose, an unrestricted free agent this July, fits, too. Jim Boylen has asked to slow down the pace and muddy up the game, and Rose has been at his best playing quicker – the Timberwolves are 11th in pace this season. But at some point Boylen is going to need to relax on his stance and play to his personnel, rather than his personnel playing to him. Getting a talent in Rose would force Boylen’s hand to an extent.

The Bulls weren’t exactly a juggernaut playing quicker under Fred Hoiberg, but the importance of adding players who can play with tempo can’t be understated. Rose would bring that and then some.

For what feels like the 127th consecutive season the Bulls will be searching for shooting in the offseason. And for the first time in Rose’s career, the soon-to-be free agent will fall under that category. He entered Wednesday’s action ranked fifth in the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage, best among point guards; Steph Curry’s 45.8 percent mark is second.

Rose’s otherworldly 3-point shooting certainly could be an aberration – he was a career 29.6 percent shooter before this season – but the Bulls could use him. Since they dealt Rose in 2016 their point guards have made a combined 33.3 percent of their triples; the NBA league average has been between 35 and 36 percent the past three seasons.

Rose has a relationship with Boylen, too. Boylen spent a week in California working out with Rose in the summer of 2015, and on Wednesday he lauded Rose’s professionalism and maturity as a teammate. It may have been coach-speak, but Boylen's comments feel like Rose would fit in with the new head coach's team culture, and it’s been made pretty clear the last month that the Bulls need all the veterans it can acquire, regardless of where they are in the rebuild.

The move wouldn’t come without its potential red flags – has a Bulls free agent signing ever? Rose is putting together this magical season under the guide of Thibodeau; though the head coach wouldn’t take credit for Rose’s resurgence in his comments Wednesdsay, the comfort Rose has playing under him can’t be overlooked. Also, if the Bulls are truly invested in Dunn as the point guard of the future, bringing in Rose as a sixth man could prove troublesome if the backup begins to outplay the starter. We know where fans would lean.

There’s also something about returns to the Windy City that haven’t gone all that well lately. Ask Dwyane Wade and Jabari Parker.

Then again, Rose’s return would be different for obvious reasons. Parker was a 23-year-old whose previous team showed no inclination of retaining him this past offseason. Wade was a 35-year-old with nearly 37,000 career minutes on his balky knees. Rose will be 31 next season, but he’ll also be coming off presumably his best year in a half decade.

And yet, this is a risk worth taking. Bulls fans are already attached to Rose. They have been since the day he was drafted. Parker and Wade were Chicago natives, but the fan base never really associated with them. It was nostalgic for the individual players and a small percentage of the fan base, but nothing like a return home for Rose would be.

Past the obvious great hometown return story, Rose has a chance to impact the Bulls. He fills a need, has the skill set the Bulls have lacked, ironically, since he left and, if nothing else, would add a valuable mentor to a backcourt the Bulls are banking on as a massive part of the rebuild. The Bulls will have the money to negotiate, and if the money's right should seriously consider a run at making #TheReturn to Chicago a reality.

 

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Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich, Anquan Boldin offer solutions to US racial inequity

Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich, Anquan Boldin offer solutions to US racial inequity

Steve Kerr joined Gregg Popovich, Anquan Boldin, Demario Davis and Andrew McCutchen to co-author an op-ed offering concrete solutions to address some of the problems raised by protesters across the country.

To achieve a more equitable justice system for people of color, the op-ed says police need to be held accountable for their actions.

“When these killings occur, we tweet, we write letters, we make videos demanding accountability,” Kerr et al. said. “We protest and we vow to change hearts and minds so that our young men can run through the streets without fear.

“And soon after, we see another officer kill a black person, usually a man, and usually without consequence. Where, we wonder, is the ‘accountability’ allegedly so important when it comes to arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating young people of color?”

The problem, Kerr et al. say, is that police supervisors simply don’t have the power to take away a bad officer’s badge.

“Among the greatest obstacles to cleaning up our police departments are police union contracts, which hamstring officials’ ability to fire officers who engage in bad and even deadly behavior,” Kerr et al. said. “Those contracts, nearly always negotiated behind closed doors, have clauses that determine how misbehavior may be disciplined. Many contracts prevent departments from investigating reports made by anonymous civilians. They allow officers accused of serious misconduct to review the complaint and the evidence before making statements to investigators, ensuring that they can craft their story to best explain whatever the evidence will show...

“In the rare case that a department pursues disciplinary action, many contracts require arbitration, which almost always results in reduced sanctions. In a survey of data compiled from 37 police departments in 2017, The Washington Post found that of 1,881 officers fired since 2006, 451 appealed and received their jobs back — nearly 25%.”

RELATED: Mitchell Trubisky breaks social media silence to support George Floyd protests

The op-ed says these contracts are renegotiated every few years, so if you’d like them to change it’s not hopeless.

“In Philadelphia, for example, the mayor renegotiates the police union contract next year. In Minneapolis, it is renegotiated every three years and is in negotiations now. We must demand that our elected officials remove terms explicitly designed to protect officers from investigation and discipline if we are going to have accountability and safety.”

The second suggestion the op-ed makes is doing away with “qualified immunity” for cops, which protects them “from legal liability for even the most outrageous conduct,” unless a legal precedent has been set with “basically identical facts.”

They elaborate by saying “qualified immunity” can be used to protect cops from wide-ranging accusations.

“One court, for example, found an officer had qualified immunity after he let his dog maul a homeless man,” Kerr et al. said. “In another case, officers who tried to steal $225,000 while on the job received immunity.”

Again, the heart of the matter for Kerr, Popovich, Boldin, Davis and McCutchen is accountability.

“Citizens face consequences for breaking the law and harming others; our government should make sure officers are no different.”

RELATED: Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts calls black leaders 'you people,' apologizes

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NBCA, Adam Silver speak out following George Floyd’s death and recent protests

NBCA, Adam Silver speak out following George Floyd’s death and recent protests

The National Basketball Coaches Association (NBCA hereafter) and commissioner Adam Silver recently joined the chorus of voices speaking out in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.

A statement from the NBCA, signed by 33 coaches and almost 180 assistant coaches, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports:

 

The statement pinpoints “police brutality, racial profiling and the weaponization of racism” as “shameful, inhuman and intolerable.”

And their call for “positive change” will reportedly be followed by some action. The NBCA has also formed a “committee on racial injustice and reform to pursue solutions within NBA cities”  Wojnarowski reports, which will be comprised of at least Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr, Lloyd Pierce, David Fizdale, Stan Van Gundy, Doc Rivers, JB Bickerstaff and Quin Snyder.

Already, many in the NBA community have acted to protest systemic racism and police brutality in the wake of Floyd’s death. Stephen Jackson, Karl-Anthony Towns and Josh Okogie demonstrated with many in Minneapolis. Jaylen Brown drove 15 hours from Boston to lead a peaceful march in Atlanta that also featured Malcolm Brogdon. Lonnie Walker aided in clean-up efforts after a night of protests in San Antonio. The list goes on from there.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver wrote in an internal memo to NBA employees obtained by ESPN that he was “heartened” by those “speaking out to demand justice, urging peaceful protest and working for meaningful change.” Silver also called for introspection and promised the NBA will “continue its efforts to promote inclusion and bridge divides through collective action, civic engagement, candid dialogue and support for organizations working towards justice and equality.” He expressed condolences to the Floyd family, outrage over the wrongful deaths of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and an obligation to not ignore the issues of “racism, police brutality and racial injustice.”

As of this writing, 26 of 30 NBA teams have issued statements on Floyd’s passing, either as entities or through organization spokespeople, ranging from executives to coaches. Hopefully, the words of many lead to action — and that action to appreciable change.

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