ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith raised eyebrows in Chicago last week when he suggested Derrick Rose could decide to opt out of his contract next season and leave the Bulls if the team doesn’t surround him with the pieces necessary to compete for an NBA championship.
Locally, many took exception with Smith’s statement considering D. Rose does not have an opt-out clause in his contract. But the TV analyst stuck to his guns in a recent appearance on ESPN’s Chicago Bulls Weekly radio show and continued to suggest that Rose could decide to leave his hometown and play elsewhere someday.
“This team is not good enough and if it maintains that status, then you’re going to have a very unhappy Derrick Rose in the years to come,” Smith said. “The nice guy that he is, that has been willing to acquiesce and capitulate to the demands and the wishes of the Chicago Bulls, that’s not going to be the case as the years progress.”
Much of this talk began last week when it was reported that Smith was spotted engaged in a conversation with Reggie Rose when Chicago hosted the New York Knicks. The elder Rose was famously outspoken against management earlier this year while his superstar brother was still rehabbing his injured knee.
His comments were unsettling to an already frustrated fanbase who not only has issues with management on their own, but who also feel that Reggie Rose has a significant amount of influence over the decisions his brother makes, a point that Smith confirmed.
“You’re going to get to a point where enough is enough and you’re going to hear a lot of bantering about what the team needs,” said Smith on if the Bulls continue to come up short in their championship chase. “Derrick Rose doesn’t have that M.O., but his brother Reggie – who has tremendous influence over him – is unapologetic about the fact that he does, along with a lot of other people that Derrick Rose is close to.”
Smith continued, “Reggie Rose and I had this discussion last year, and it was after he made it very, very clear he wanted the Chicago Bulls to improve this roster for his brother. He also articulated that although his brother is too nice and too kind to say a lot of things, that doesn’t negate how he really feels. There’s only going to be so many times that they’re [the Rose’s] going to sit there and tolerate not having the necessary help [to compete for a championship].”
More Local News from NBCChicago.com: