Derrick Rose Knows What Matters, Donates $1 Million to ASM

DRose ASM

Derrick Rose was the talk of the town Tuesday when he donated $1 million to the After School Matters organization. The NBA superstar, NBA MVP and three-time All Star is an Englewood native and knows the importance of supporting Chicago’s youth.

“To have a strong community of people who believe in your potential can make all the difference in the world,” said Rose, “so many people have invested in me and I want to do the same for Chicago’s teens.”

Can we get a round of applause for this guy? Way to be a role model Mr. Rose.

drose & kidsEver since enduring his first knee injury in 2012, DRose has been under scrutiny for sitting on the bench too long, not stepping up for the team, potentially never being the same player (haters gunna hate), but one thing you can’t disrespect is his dedication to Chicago and specifically the city’s youth.

“My message to our kids is simple – you matter, you deserve every opportunity in life, and you can and should dream big because dreams can come true,” said Rose via NBA.com.

ASM M Daley

ASM Teens with Maggie Daley

This news really hit home for me, as I have been fortunate enough to work directly with After School Matters professionally (also known around town as ASM) and it is truly an amazing organization. They continue to create innovative ways to develop Chicago’s youth.

The non-profit was founded by Chicago’s former First Lady, Maggie Daley, over two decades ago and has touched the lives of over 200,000 teens living in the city. Mellody Hobson, President of Ariel Investments, assumed the role of Board Chair in 2012 following Mrs. Daley’s passing. ASM has many different unique programs that include the arts, communications, sciences, sports and technology. Those participating in ASM programs are almost entirely minority and living at or below the poverty level.

The Chicago Bulls have been long supporters of the After School Matters organization and shaping teens in the city. Bulls’ Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Reinsdorf sit on ASM boards. Although Chicagoans know the Reinsdorf family, it is always humbling to see a superstar athlete give back.

Derrick’s generous donation is a representation of his commitment to the Chicago community and is both touching and inspiring. I commend you DRose.

If you’d like to learn more about After School Matters, visit their website!

Bulls Free Agency Moves: Melo on My Mind

Ready, set, let the Carmelo Anthony courting begin! Free agency started at 12:01 AM Tuesday morning and the Chicago Bulls got the first shot at securing the restricted free agent.

Mother Nature seems to be on our side giving Melo a beautiful Chicago summer day for his Tuesday tour, now we just need GM Gar Forman and the front office to pull out all the stops because this dude is definitely the belle of the free agency ball this 2014 off season. His list of possible suitors seems endless and the money is flowing.

After his visit in Chicago Tuesday, Anthony will head to Texas to meet with the Dallas Mavericks and the Houston Rockets and later to Los Angeles to hear out the Lakers. He will be wined and dined by each ball club and after his travels could ultimately crush some hearts and re-sign with his Knicks in New York for a fat contract.Despite the risk, it looks like the Bulls are all in on Sir Anthony after decking out the UC with the “We want Melo” signage and pictures. Chicago drafted and traded for Doug McDermott to clear cap space last week, head coach Tom Thibodeau is on board for bringing in the small forward with the hot shot, Joakim Noah has been recruiting the sharp shooter since January during the All-Star game and the city of Chicago has been wishing for a scorer since the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen era.

If you’ve missed the rumblings about Carmelo, here are some important factors to consider:

Why Should Carmelo Come to Chicago? 

For a better lack of words, the Bulls have been scoring challenged over the last two seasons. They are desperate for a superstar scorer and Anthony could be that guy. He’d be an instant offensive savior for this Bulls team. He averaged 27.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists last season.

Melo understands legacies are made by championship rings and not necessarily how many points you score a game. The Bulls want to win a championship right now. They don’t want to wait a year to clear out cap space to bring in better players. They have a strong core and know they need a solid scorer to complete their puzzle.

The Bulls are in the Eastern Conference – the Mavs, Rockets and Lakers are all in the Western Conference which is most definitely a tougher crowd. Think the reigning champion San Antonio Spurs, Kevin Durant and the OKC Thunder, Blake Griffin/Chris Paul and the Clippers – the talent is honestly ridiculous. Other than the Miami Heat, the East is up for the taking. Your odds of at least making it to a NBA finals is far more likely in the Eastern Conference.

What Could Hold Melo Back?

More money more problems – Under the collective bargaining agreement, the Knicks can offer Melo a maximum contract of $129 million over five years. Any other potential teams can offer Anthony a maximum of $96 million over four years. Thats a hefty pay cut.

Derrick Rose has been injury prone over the last two years. It may be difficult to sell a team with an uncertain superstar piece of the puzzle. Rose could come back stronger than ever this upcoming season, or he may not. It’s all up the air at this point and we know Melo isn’t interested in hanging around to wait and see.

Stroke the Ego: Other stars have openly recruited Anthony. Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler are ready for Melo in Dallas, Dwight Howard and James Harden are waiting in Houston and his good buddy Kobe Bryant is ready to chat man to man in LA. Melo and Lebron James even have a bro-mance happening that could hinder his decision. The Bulls superstar, who hasn’t suited up in quite some time Derrick Rose, thinks it’s not “his job” to recruit star players. However, he may not have been openly recruiting Melo, Rose did attend today’s meetings in Chicago.

Brooklyn Born: New York is Melo’s hometown and I’m sure he feels a connection to his city. It would mean more to win a championship in “his city” rather than some other location. It’s going to take some serious schmoozing for Anthony to move his family out of his fancy life in the Big Apple and run with the Bulls.

Be prepared to hear quite a bit about Carmelo and his free agency journey across the US over the next few weeks. This is only the beginning as there are quite a few quality free agents available this off season.

Just remember, it’s only speculation until Melo officially accepts an offer – hopefully he’ll keep things classier than BronBron’s “The Decision” on ESPN a few years back. No need to nationally broadcast your choice, but if you take your talents to Chicago Melo, I promise we’re better fans than you’ll find in NY. #letsgo #Bullieve

via Bulls Free Agency Moves: Melo on My Mind | SportsDivas, Inc..

Bulls or Bust: 10 Things to Know Before the Playoffs

Calling all Bulls babes: the NBA playoffs are right under our noses! If you took a backseat after Derrick Rose went out for the season or Luol Deng was shipped off to Cleveland – we don’t blame you, but it’s time to brush up on your Bulls basics because we’re gearing up for a playoff party.

The league is wrapping up their regular season tonight and our Bulls have secured the role of “most dangerous underdog” in the post season this year. No one expected much out of Chicago after Derrick rose went down with the doom and gloom of a second knee injury. Many suggested the team tank the season and collect themselves a nice lottery pick in the draft. Instead, the Bulls are prepping for the 2014 post season and are easily one of the biggest threats to the top seeded dogs in the East.

What You Need to Know:

1. The Perfect Playoff Positioning? They’re either playing the Brooklyn Nets or the Washington Wizards in a first round show down. It all depends on the outcome of the final games tonight (The Bulls snag a four seed and Indy’s bracket with a loss or a Raptors win. They take the three seed with a win and a Raptors loss). Rumor has it the Nets don’t want to meet the Bulls in the first round after we knocked them out last year. The Pacers clinched the top seed in the East so technically we want the 4th seed to avoid the Miami Heat’s half of the bracket. Let’s not face BronBron and his title contending friends until the Eastern finals por favor.

2. It’s all about the messy bun swagger and the heart hustle and muscle of Joakim Noah this post season. His energy propels the emotional stability of the entire roster. JoNo has been absolutely stunning this season racking up career high stats. Triple-double is basically his middle name. He leads the team in rebounds, blocks, and assists (yea our center is the best passer on the team, deal with it). Noah’s health and consistent performance is essential for the Bulls to advance to the second round.

3. Crazy Cool Coach: Thibs may look like a Disney evil villain or maybe you get the used car salesman vibe from his fashion sense, but one thing proves true; Tom Thibodeau knows how to coach an NBA team. It doesn’t matter who’s on his bench, NBA players ride or die with their boy Thibs.

4. Defensive Titans: By now we are all aware of the Bulls defensive mindset. Tom Thibodeau has his teams eat and breathe defense and the Bulls are peaking (minus the loss to the lowly Knicks) at the right time. We’re looking your way Jimmy ButlerThey’ve been ranked in the top 5 defenses all season and are about to take the physicality up a notch.

butler and gibson5. X-Factors: Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler. Gibson is in the running for Sixth man of the year and there is no time like the present for him to whip out all the stops. I want ego-smothering dunks and I want dirty defense. Jimmy Buckets had a slow start on the year, but has picked things up since the All-Star break. We need a big burst from Butler to solidify some offense and defense for the Bulls.

6. Down and Dirty Delivery: The Bulls are primitive in their strategic play and do not possess the same finesse as power houses like the Heat and Pacers. Sometimes they barely have much offense at all; it can get ugly. However, the Bulls find other ways to beat you. They’ll physically and emotionally wear their opponents down.

Jimmer7. Jimmer Fever: From the second Jimmer Fredette stepped foot onto a Bull’s bball court, the media and the fans went into their usual Jimmer Fever frenzy. Think Brian Scalabrine White Mamba style, but not a super old NBA veteran. Jimmer is a bench mobber who may not see heavy minutes, but can make an impact emotionally – plus he’s got a nice mid-range shot. #jimmerfeverforever

8. D.J. Augustin is the best pick-up the Bulls could have hoped for. Chicago snatched Augustin after the Raptors put him up on waivers (the NBA equivalent to being homeless on the street). The Bulls were a team who needed a backup point guard, they took Augustin under their wing and he instantly made an impact off the bench. He’s currently the Bulls’ leading scorer.

Brewers-back9. Roster Updates: Ronnie “brew-ha-ha” Brewer is back on the Bulls. We were sad to see him go a few years back, but his return to the bench mob is a happy one. Brewer knows Thib’s intense defensive ways. He plays tough and can give the Bulls a pick-me-up when they need one.

10. No DRose: Derrick rose isn’t making a superhero return to whisk his team off into NBA happily ever after. Let it go, Let it go. (Yes, I went there, Frozen style)

Per usual any playoff advancing is going to take an entire Bulls team effort. Kirk, Boozer, Butler, Dunleavy and the whole gang are going to have to play their hearts out and maybe, just maybe, our Bulls may upset the entire conference. It’s time to #BULLieve.

Be sure to check out all my post season pieces at SportsDivasinc.com via Bulls or Bust: 10 Things to Know Before the Playoffs | SportsDivas, Inc..

Bittersweet Business: Luol Deng Traded to Cavaliers

NBA: Playoffs-Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn Nets

via Bittersweet Business: Luol Deng Traded to Cavaliers | SportsDivas Inc..

After months of trade rumors, the Chicago Bulls ended an era when they wheeled and dealed their two-time All-Star small forward Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers late Monday night.

Initially, you might be thinking the Bulls front office has lost their marbles. Deng has been the most consistent offensive player on the Bulls the past few years, he’s led the entire league playing a ridiculous amount of minutes, he’s a stifling defender and he has a heart of gold.It wasn’t always pretty, but Lou gave Chicago his all throughout his 10 year journey and embodied the Bulls gritty defense-minded approach. Unfortunately, our love for Luol Deng is not enough to keep him in Chicago. There are plenty of reasons why the Deng-er-ang was sent off to hang with Kyrie Irving and the Cavs. It’s business, baby.

To give the Bulls’ organization some credit, they did try to keep Deng in Chicago by offering him a 3-year, $30 million extension last week. However, Deng declined the offer which then led to plan B – the trade.Deng is 28, leading the team in points scored, but he’s also be ailed by quite a few injuries this season and in past years. The game takes a lot of wear and tear on the body. John Paxson, Chicago’s VP of Basketball Operations, addressed the media immediately Tuesday morning to discuss the big move. He explained just how hard of a decision it was to trade Luol and the amount of respect the organization has for the NBA player.

Chicago has been through the ups and downs with Deng and he has always proven the toughest of soldiers, playing through sprains, muscle tears and spinal taps. The city is forever grateful for his time here and we wish him nothing but greatness in Cleveland unless he’s playing the Bulls of course.

What the Bulls got in Return:

I know what you’re thinking, “ditching Deng better have been worth it,” or maybe that’s just what I was thinking. The Bulls picked up center Andrew Bynum, three future draft picks and the right to swap 2015 first round picks with the Cavs. Los Bulls already have a solid center in Joakim Noah, so they will release Bynum before the Jan. 7 deadline tonight. This will clear up about $12.3 million to go with the $14.3 million they saved by trading Deng.

The draft picks are what really sweetened the deal. The Bulls now have a boatload of draft picks coming their way in the next few years. This is great news because the 2014 draft is deep with talented players and the Bulls could really get some quality guys.

What This Means for the Bulls:

The fun has only just begun for the Chicago Bulls’ front office. This trade absolutely signifies a new era in Chicago basketball and a time for rebuilding, but it’s not going to be a complete overhaul. They still have serious talent in Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson. Yes, trading Deng means the Bulls won’t be doing much winning this season, but the goal is to develop the young players we do have like Tony Snell and find the the guys who can truly take the Bulls to a championship upon Derrick Rose’s return.

DRose is still the center of Chicago’s universe. The organization’s goal is to find the best players to compliment Rose. We need a team who no longer plays under Derrick, but rather a team who plays well WITH Derrick.

Expect the Bulls to amnesty Carlos Boozer this summer, this will cut another $16.8 million for the Bulls spending, which would hopefully allow enough salary cap room for the signing of an elite caliber free agent. All these deals give the Bulls quite a bit more wiggle room when it comes to the limitations of players they can sign.These are absolutely long shots, but players like Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Greg Monroe and even LeBron James could potentially be attainable. The Bulls have cap space and with some tempting rookies, Chicago may be able to conjure up some sign-and-trade deals.

Losing Deng is no easy feat. It’s going to take the team some time to bounce back after their silent leader was traded away, but I bet Joakim Noah is even more upset that the poor guy has to live in Cleveland.

Farewell Luol, we’ll miss you and your Dengerous wingspan.

 

Bulls November Report Card: C-

The Bulls’ season has been underway for a little over a month and the game has already taken a toll on our emotions. As fans we’re exhausted, I can’t imagine what the players must be going through. If you’ve missed Coach Thibodeau’s recent emotional sideline displays, the Bulls are in a full fledged identity crisis after losing Derrick Rose for the season and sitting 2nd in the Central Division at 7-9.

It’s tough times Bulls fans. November started with the highest hopes, Rose was finally finding his rhythm after a year off the floor and the team was starting to gel again. Then BAM in the blink of an eye everything plummeted into a devastating black hole. This is the kind of season where you either pride yourself on being a die-hard Bulls fan and stick it out, or perhaps just pack it up until next season.

The Good: 

Jimmy Butler finally got a haircut.

Other than the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat the Bulls are competing in a weak Eastern Conference. It’s a blessing and a burden. The Bulls won’t be terrible enough in the conference to “tank” the season and get a top draft pick, but they don’t have enough without Rose to

The Bad: Well gosh, where do I even begin.

It was just a normal game during the yearly Circus Trip where the biggest challenge was Jimmy Butler sitting out with a case of turf toe. Then suddenly Derrick Rose’s right knee buckled in the third quarter and he limped off the TrailBlazer’s court. Next thing we know he needs season ending surgery to repair a torn medial meniscus. And in an instant all the Bulls’ hopes and dreams of an NBA Championship were immediately stripped away.Losing your franchise player to a knee injury for the second time in less than two years is a bit traumatizing. It’s one thing to go into the season knowing you’ll be without your star player, however losing DRose 11 games into the season after believing he was 100% healthy is near impossible to bounce back from. DRose seems to be on a year-to-year status with the Bulls.

Overall: It’s going to take the Bulls a hot second to shake off the loss of their superstar point guard, regain their composure and buckle up to do what they do best – get back to playing defense. It’s always been about heart hustle and muscle in Chicago.

Read my whole piece via Bulls November Report Card: C- | SportsDivas Inc..

IINJURY ALERT: Rose Officially Ruled Out for the Season

It’s honestly hard to stomach, but for the second time in two years the Chicago Bulls find themselves Rose-less. Derrick Rose has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after having surgery to repair the torn medial meniscus in his right knee Monday morning.

The basketball odds are not in the Bulls’ favor and so a serious case of the Bulls Blues has taken over the city of Chicago as we embark on #theReturnPart2.

With the confirmation of the devastating DRose news comes an overwhelming sea of questions. Will Rose ever be the same? What are the Bulls going to do? Can the season still be salvaged? Will we ever see a NBA Championship in Chicago during the Rose era? Let’s see if we can get some of these answered.

What Does this Mean for Rose’s Future:

The Bulls’ star was in good spirits after surgery and the organization expects a full recovery from their MVP. Rose opted to have the meniscus repaired in his knee rather than having it removed all together. The recovery time for removing the meniscus would have been much quicker, but repairing it allows for more longevity in Rose’s career. The rehabbing process takes at least six months.

There is one silver lining to the Rose injury saga, it could have been worse. Most feared the worst Saturday afternoon while refreshing their news feeds to get the latest DRose news, he could have torn the ACL in his right knee. Which ultimately could have been career ending.

Confidence and trust will play a major factor in Rose’s recovery. We all watched him struggle to find his groove this season after sitting out for an entire year rehabbing his ACL. In the last three seasons, Rose has only played in 50 games and now he’ll have two reconstructed knees. Rose is a super humble dude, but it’s going to take some mega-mindpower to get back into his pre-injury form.

What This Means for the Bulls:

All postseason hopes are not lost of our mighty Bulls. Don’t get me wrong, the Bulls are absolutely better off with Rose on the court – the entire league is actually – but they still have enough talent to take them into the playoffs without the 2010-2011 MVP.

With Rose active the Bulls are a title contender. Without Rose the team could make a playoff run, but are unlikely to beat the Miami Heat or the Indiana Pacers in a 7 game series. HOWEVER the Heat are one Dwyane Wade injury away from trouble and the Pacers still struggle on offense down the stretch.

Los Bulls have been down this road before. They’ve managed a winning season without their star point guard. The key to success will be a healthy Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson. Offseason pickup Mike Dunleavy, a seasoned vet, will need to get going and be a consistent scorer.

Luol Deng trade rumors have begun to spiral. Without Rose healthy the team is now looking toward the future rather than the present season. Deng is a two-time All-Star forward who’s expecting some serious cash when he becomes a free agent at the end of this season. That being said, the Bulls are already paying the luxury tax for being over the salary cap threshold. They’re looking to lower their financial load and unfortunately the team would get the most in return for a Deng trade.

Overall, it was a bad weekend to be a Bulls fan and more importantly a Derrick Rose fan. Instead of our white knight riding off into the sunset with an NBA Championship, he’s forced to hobble around with a set of ugly crutches. #notfair

Read more of my Bulls coverage at SportsDivasInc.com via Injury ALERT: Rose Officially Ruled Out for the Season | SportsDivas Inc..

Weekend Roundup: Bulls are Back in Business with Two Blowout Wins

Weekend roundup

It was a win-win kind of weekend for the Chicago Bulls who got back to their streak-snapping roots and pulled off two big blowout wins against the Toronto Raptors and Indiana Pacers.

Despite their healthy roster, it has been a rough start overall for Chicago who is still working through the kinks and rust of Derrick Rose’s return to the court. This weekend put the haters to rest and gave Bulls fans a gust of hope with some breakout performances and team defense.

Friday Bulls at Raptors

Bulls were cruising in the 96-80 win over the Raptors Friday night. With Rose on the bench resting his sore hamstring the Bulls played stingy defense and a well rounded offense. Luol Deng led the way with 19 points, but every Bulls’ starter was in double digits.

Joakim Noah finally found his offensive swagger and had his first big offensive game with 18 points. Jo-No missed the majority of the pre-season with a groin injury and needed a few games to find his rhythm again.

Raptors’ swingman DeMar DeRozan had a career high of 37 points. He dominated the fourth quarter making some outlandish jumpshots, but Toronto had dug themselves too deep of a hole to come back from.

Jimmy Butler showed off his new haircut. The handsome young stud changed up his fro to a more clean-cut style.

Saturday Bulls vs Pacers

STREAK SNAPPED: Going into Saturday’s matchup the Indiana Pacers were the only remaining undefeated team in the NBA. The Bulls, who had already lost to the Pacers earlier this season, said “not in our house.” Chicago not only ended Indy’s nine game winning streak, but they did so in a 110-94 blowout fashion.

Derrick Rosehad his first break-out game of the season with 20 points and four assists and against a tough opponent too (feel free to let out your sigh of relief).

It was a battle between two All-Star small forwards, but Luol Deng (23 pts) took advantage of Indy’s counterpart Paul George (12 pts) who has had a solid start to his season. Overall, the Bulls starters dominated the Pacers big guys.

Carlos Boozer did some pushin-and-shovin against Chris Copeland. They were both ejected with 21.9 seconds on the clock.

The Bulls and Pacers claim there is no longer a team rivalry between the two divisional opponents, but we beg to differ. Things got taken up a notch at the UC and things will continue to get more heated between these two teams as the season goes on.

Your Take Away Piece:

“We witnessed three things this weekend: the Bulls showed off their feisty team defense, they had a resurgence of balanced offense (they surpassed the 100 point hurdle) and DRose got his MVP groove back. I think things are finally coming together for our Chicago Bulls and there’s a lot of great basketball in store for us all.”

What’s Next:

Chicago is 5-3 as they prepare to host the 5-5 Charlotte Bobcats tonight at the UC. Tune in to Comcast Sportsnet at 7 PM to see if our main men can keep their offensive mojo going and continue their four game winning streak. Always BULLieve.

Check out all my Bulls posts via  SportsDivas Inc..