CLEVELAND — The hair is longer, the facial hair a bit more unkempt.
Meet the new Derrick Rose.
“When I step on the court, all the articles and all that, I’m past that,’’ Rose, who signed with the Cavaliers in July, said Tuesday. “That’s one of the reasons I grew my hair. It’s about being free. It’s about not caring.’’
Rose also was in the mood to clear up some history, hinting that the Bulls’ organization didn’t completely have his back during his eight seasons with the team.
He said the lingering perception that he refused to recruit free agents while with the Bulls was inaccurate.
After finally joining forces with Dwyane Wade and LeBron James in Cleveland, Rose insisted that he recruited the two future Hall of Famers and Chris Bosh, as well, in 2010.
According to Rose, he made a video, sent it to the organization to send out to all three players and had no idea what happened after that.
“Yeah, yeah, I tried,’’ Rose said. “Like people always said I didn’t recruit. I tried to recruit. I put out a video, but it wasn’t for me to say that. I felt like the organization was supposed to say that, and they didn’t. I put out a video for [Wade], Bosh and LeBron.’’
Asked if the organization even sent it out, Rose said, “I mean, it ain’t for me to say that, but, yeah, they didn’t say anything about it. They sent it. I don’t know if they actually looked at it or played the video, but I made a video. At the time, it wasn’t for me to say that.’’
Rose insisted that he encouraged the three players to come to Chicago in the video. When asked why it took him all these years to admit to it, he said, “I just wanted to see who had my back.’’
So is Rose lying? Is it simply a misunderstanding? Is it revisionist history?
Maybe all three.
The Bulls didn’t take kindly to Rose’s version of the events, which made it seem as though they buried his role, and a source in the organization gave their side of the story.
According to the source, Rose did make a video, but he — along with Joakim Noah and several other members of the 2009-10 team — was asked to. The source said Rose also was asked to fly out with members of the organization to meet with James, but he “backed out.’’
In the 2014 offseason, Rose was supposed to be much more active in the recruitment of Carmelo Anthony but angered the front office when he didn’t show up for a dinner with Anthony even though a place setting had been left for him.
Last season, Wade even admitted that a call from Rose would’ve gone a long way. When reminded of that Tuesday, Wade said, “That’s not his personality. Don’t want to do something that’s not in someone’s personality.’’
Rose said he has no hard feelings toward the Bulls or any team, but he’ll be on a mission to prove the league wrong.
Arousing little interest around the league, Rose signed a one-year, $2.1 million deal with the Cavaliers.
“I get a chance to reintroduce myself to the league,’’ Rose said. “I get to bet on myself. That was one of the reasons why I came here. I’m from Chicago. I got that hustling side. It’s in me. Next time you pay me, you gotta pay me double. So it’s fine with me.’’
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