The juice was no longer worth the squeeze when it came to Derrick Rose.
Whether it was eye-rolling statements to the media, his inability to stay out of the training room, dealing with the buffoonery of Camp Rose when it came to his future earnings, or the fact that privately there were more and more in the Bulls organization that felt the point guard believed the Rose brand was more important than the team logo, a break-up was all but unavoidable.
That’s why Rose is the “Big Apple’s’’ problem now, traded to the Knicks in the offseason.
So that means a quiet, distraction-free camp starting on Monday, right? That would be nice, but this is after all still a Jerry Reinsdorf production.
Core players may have changed addresses, but lingering problems still exist, starting with a trust factor between players, coaches and general manager Gar Forman.
The slate might be clean for now, but dirty is never far off with this dynamic.
Five keys for the start of training camp:
1. Coming home – Dwyane Wade is finally playing for the team he grew up idolizing, even if it might be five years too late for the 34 year old. However, all eyes will be on what the knees still have in them, and more importantly can Wade be a factor come April?
The veteran was masterful in the playoff loss to Toronto last May, turning back the clock and averaging 23.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Heck, he even hit 50 percent from three. Is that the guy they can count on in crunch-time this season or is this simply the 18th hole for Wade’s career?
He doesn’t need to dazzle in camp by any means, but staying healthy would keep most of the front office sleeping better at night.
2. Jimmy Jam and the Funky Bunch – Being besties with actor Mark Wahlberg is a nice claim to fame for Jimmy Butler, but now there has to be more.
He was handed the keys to the organization early last season, and ended up taking the entire house. Gone are players that opposed the Butler takeover like Rose and Joakim Noah. Still hanging around, however. Expectations.
Butler has to deliver this team – his team – to the postseason, and make a run if he wants to be taken seriously as a superstar. Camp Jimmy is where it starts.
3. What’s the plan, Fred? – It’s not the ideal make-up of what coach Fred Hoiberg likes to do offensively, but once Rajon Rondo and Wade signed to join the team Hoiberg’s offensive playbook went out the window.
Now the second-year coach has to adjust to his new personnel, as well as show a heavy hand in getting everyone to buy in. No easy task.
4. Shooters needed – There was a lot of hype surrounding the additions of Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic a few years back. Admittedly, neither have lived up to it.
That doesn’t mean the “bust’’ label should be thrown their way by any means, but it’s time baby steps become big boy steps this season.
On a team void of consistent outside shooters in the projected starting lineup, McDermott and Mirotic need to fill that hole, and do so on both sides of the ball.
5. Don’t sleep on the Rook – As Denzel Valentine showed in Summer League, he’s not the usual NBA rookie. There is an old-school mentality to his game.
Training camp will be huge for the first-round pick, and don’t be surprised if he’s a factor off the bench once the games start meaning something.