It’s likely the offseason will arrive sooner rather than later for Derrick Rose and the rest of the Bulls.
For Rose, this summer will be key as the guard will work on his game to get back to his 2011 NBA MVP level. There’s also the little matter that Rose will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2016-17 season and has much to prove if he desires a max contract.
“Of course it’s the biggest offseason, but there’s no pressure or anything,” Rose said before the Bulls took on the Heat Thursday night at American Airlines Arena. “Hard work takes care of that. … I’m prepared right now, so this offseason is going to make me even more prepared.”
Both Rose and backcourt partner Jimmy Butler said they will make an effort to work out with each other during the offseason and Rose said he planned to put in more work.
“This is a big summer coming up for me as far as working out, staying at peace with myself, keeping calm [and]being with my son,” Rose said.
Hurting: Taj Gibson missed his fifth consecutive game with a fractured rib and there is a chance the forward will not return for the final three games this season.
“Every time he rises up to shoot he feels pain, so those muscles are still in spasm,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He obviously played through [pain in]two games with the fracture. It’s just really acting up on him. Until those muscles quiet down it’s doubtful he’ll be back.”
Meanwhile, guard E’Twaun Moore sat out his second game in a row with an injured hamstring.
Discovery zone: One of the few positives for the Bulls late this season has been the play of rookie big man Cristiano Felicio. Injuries to Gibson and Pau Gasol have forced Hoiberg to turn to Felicio, and the 6-foot-10, 275-pound free-agent signee from Brazil has put himself into the mix for a regular rotation spot next season.
“We saw [in the offseason and training camp]the way he moved for a person that size and someone that young,” Hoiberg said. “He has taken advantage of all the opportunities [and]given us really good minutes.
“A big part of it is what he has done defensively, but the [touch]he has on offense is something that was a little surprising to everyone.”
Honored: Hoiberg, who was a standout student-athlete at Iowa State in the mid-1990s, will be inducted into the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America Hall of Fame.
The organization recognizes Academic All-Americans who received a college diploma at least 10 years ago, have achieved lifetime success in their professional careers and are committed to philanthropic causes.