LOS ANGELES -- As Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose prepared Sunday to open the season against the Los Angeles Lakers, his mind was focused on the present, but he did entertain a question about the future.
And his answer to whether he'd like to emulate Kobe Bryant by playing his entire career in one city should sit well with Bulls fans.
"I would love to," he said.
As preposterous as it sounds, Rose -- the 23-year-old MVP from Chicago's Englewood neighborhood -- didn't want to be presumptuous and said he would stay unless the Bulls traded him.
"It's all up to them," he said. "I would love to be here, be a Bull for the rest of my life, but it's really not up to me.
"For sure. There's no other team I think I would rather be on than the Chicago Bulls. Me living in another city, no. (Chicago is) just a perfect place for me."
And the team obviously feels likewise after signing Rose to a five-year, $94 million extension.
Rose's rise from rookie of the year to All-Star to MVP has created expectations that he's willing to accept from his hometown fans.
"They're going to always expect high expectations from you," he said. "But that pushes you as a player. Knowing me, I push myself a lot, but I'm from Chicago. Like I always say, I want to give them something to brag about.
"They're appreciative. If we give them (just one championship), they'll accept it," he said with a laugh. "We've been in a drought for a very long time. So they'll understand."
Rose's confidence level was surging before the opener.
"I've never felt this confident," he said. "Knowing that we have almost the same pieces here. We were close last year and we're just trying to do better than last year."
The one big difference on the Bulls is the addition of shooting guard Rip Hamilton, who flashed signs of fitting in well during his one preseason game with the Bulls.
"We play a more precise game," Rose said. "Where no matter what's going on in the game, we're consistent in one area and that's defense. And I think that, with the guys that we have, and knowing what we went through, we don't want to settle for anything less."
Rose admitted on Saturday the he still hasn't gotten over the fact that the Miami Heat beat the Bulls in the Eastern Conference finals last season. It's clear he has used that loss as motivation throughout the summer.
"It hurt," he said. "But we always have another year. This year we got another chance at it. We're just happy that the season has started. And it gives us another run to go for it."
Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.