INDEPENDENCE, Ohio – Part of the lore surrounding the Miami Heat landing LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade as free agents in the summer of 2010 was not only the great recruiting presentation that Pat Riley pulled off in South Beach, but also the poor recruiting pitch that Derrick Rose executed on behalf of the Chicago Bulls.
Seven years later, with James, Wade and Rose set to take the court for the first time as teammates in Tuesday’s preseason game against the Bulls (8 p.m. ET, ESPN), Rose revealed that he did try to lure James, Wade and Bosh to Chicago after all.
“Oh yeah, yeah, I tried,” Rose said after shootaround Tuesday. “People always said that I didn’t recruit. I tried to recruit. I put out the video, but, it wasn’t for me to say that. I felt like it was for the organization to say that.”
When asked why this revelation was just coming to light now, Rose replied, “I just wanted to see who had my back,” presumably referring to members of the Bulls front office that could have corrected the perception that Rose was hands-off by telling the media about the video that was filmed.
Rose said he is unaware if the video was ever viewed by James, Wade and Bosh.
“(The Bulls) didn’t say anything about it,” Rose said. “They sent it, I don’t know if they really actually looked at it or played the video, but, I made the video, but at the time it really wasn’t for me to say that.”
James told The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd that Rose reached out to him personally, but did not confirm whether he saw the video or not.
“He was basically saying, ‘Everybody is out here saying that I don’t want you to come here and saying that we can’t play together,'” James told The Athletic. “He said, ‘I’d love for you to come to Chicago because all I care about is winning.'”
Rose fed into the misconception of his refusal to recruit when asked about it in December 2011.
“I’m not going to do that,” Rose said at the time when asked about trying to convince guys to come to Chicago. “If you want to come here, come here, but it’s not up to me to make that decision. I’m not paying them.”
At that point, however, free agency had come and gone and Rose had teammates to protect. Publicly pining for Wade, James and Bosh could have put a strain on relationships.
Wade said that he, James and Rose have not revisited the missed opportunity from 2010 since coming together in Cavs training camp the last couple weeks.
“We haven’t discussed it, honestly,” Wade said. “We’ve really just been focusing on here. We’ve only been together a little over a week and LeBron has been out, so we haven’t even been together whole on the basketball floor. But I have spoken to the media. From my standpoint I thought there was two times I might play with D-Rose. I thought the Miami Heat was getting the first pick in 2008. I thought we was going to play with D-Rose. Didn’t get that one. Then in 2010 came an opportunity and that didn’t happen. And then the time when you least expect it, it happens. That’s the league we play in. I just love getting to know him, love how he looks, how comfortable he looks here, the way he’s playing right now. We’re thankful to have him, especially with (Isaiah Thomas) being out, to have a guy like D-Rose to step in and be the starting point guard, how many teams have that luxury?”
Wade said that there was no ill will from how Rose, then just 23 years old, handled his business.
“That’s not his personality,” Wade said. “Don’t want to do something that’s not in someone’s personality. We knew he wanted us to come in. He didn’t have to be on our line all the time. We knew that. We just made a decision that was better for us.”
Miami went on to make four straight Finals, winning it all twice, before James returned to Cleveland in 2014. Chicago lost to Miami in the Eastern Conference finals in 2011 and has not been beyond the second round since, as Rose battled persistent injuries before eventually being traded to the New York Knicks in the summer of 2016.
“They’re men, they’re going to make their own decisions,” Rose said. “Their families, if they had families at the time. They were going to do whatever was comfortable for not only them but their families. So with Miami, taking them, I wasn’t like mad at them or holding grudges against them because they made the right decisions and they won two championships right off the bat.”