CHICAGO -- Dwyane Wade knows the truth. And the truth, as far is it pertains to the Chicago Bulls, is that the team is only going to get back to a championship caliber level if Derrick Rose can return to an MVP level after knee surgery.
Wade, like fans throughout Chicago, knows that Rose and his knee are crucial in getting the franchise back to where they were two years ago, in the Eastern Conference finals, and beyond.
"Every season's different," Wade told ESPNChicago.com on Wednesday afternoon during a promotional event at the Union League Club of Chicago for his book, "A Father First." "Obviously, a healthy Derrick Rose will help that. That's probably the biggest thing. They have a good core around him of players, but they need him to be (the) Derrick Rose that he was and if he's that then they're going to be a team that you've got to continue to watch out for."
Wade, who stated after the 2011 playoffs that he felt as if the Bulls were still "one player away from being there every year," isn't sure what the Bulls need to add at the moment, especially with Rose's uncertain health status.
"I don't know, man," Wade said. "They went to the Eastern Conference Finals (in 2011) against us. And then last year, the year that he went out, they're one of the top teams in the league so you just never know.
"You think about the Bulls back in the (Michael) Jordan days when they won all the championships, they didn't have a lot of injuries, they went through a lot of it scott-free. So you just never know what's going to happen from one season to the next. A lot of people feel like you need these certain names to win championships; some teams do and some teams don't. I think the Bulls were onto something very good, a team that's very respected around the league, so obviously you want to continue to build for your team, but I don't know."
Wade told ESPNChicago.com last month that Rose may have to recruit down the line in order to bring better players to the Bulls. It's a practice Rose has stated he does not wish to be a part of as of now. Wade's former head coach in Miami, Stan Van Gundy, recently told an Orlando radio station that he was looking forward to seeing what Rose will decide to do in the upcoming years as far as staying put or trying to partner with other superstars. For his part, Wade said last month that he doesn't find it particularly difficult to stay loyal to an organization given a player's free agency rights.
"I don't really look at it and say you're not staying loyal, or you're staying loyal -- everyone has options," Wade said last month. "And when you get a chance to get to a point where you have an option, you have a decision to make. And that's not just players, that's the front office, they have decisions to make on players every year, and they use them or they don't. That's coaches, they have the option of who they're going to put in the game at that time.
"There's a lot made about the players' options to go to another team, or to play for this or that, it's your option. And you have the right to do it. If it wasn't, it wouldn't be in the collective bargaining agreement. It's a lot of speculation on what players do and what players don't do, but at the end of the day everyone's doing it ... not everyone, but when you have the option to do it when your contract is up, it's your right to be able to go where you please."