CHICAGO – Bulls point guard Derrick Rose said Wednesday that he was focused entirely on making plays, not trades.
Rose shot down a published report that said he informed Bulls management about his desire to play with Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol. The report, which was published by NBA writer Chris Sheridan on SheridanHoops.com, said Rose endorsed a possible deal that would have sent teammate Carlos Boozer to the Lakers.
No part of the report was true, Rose said.
“That’s something that I wouldn’t say to anyone – that I need someone to come to this team or I’m trying to get rid of someone on this team,” said Rose, who spoke firmly but without anger. “It was all false. That’s something that I’ll never do.”
Rose has bypassed opportunities to recruit high-profile free agents, which is why it seemed odd that he would meddle in the Bulls’ midseason personnel decisions. He reiterated Wednesday that he was happy with the current version of the roster.
“I’m good with the teammates that I have,” Rose said. “I’ve always been saying that.”
Rose said he told Boozer that the report was off base.
“He should know,” Rose said. “I talked to him a little bit, but I think he already knew that they were false.”
Feeling better: As for on-the-court news, Rose said he was pain-free after missing five games this month because of lower-back pain.
Rose said he planned to participate in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game, where he would continue his stretching regimen with the trainers who were on site in Orlando.
“My back’s feeling good,” Rose said. “I’m not worried about it anymore. I don’t feel pain anymore. Hopefully, I can get away from it hurting again [by] stretching a lot and making sure that I’m stretching at night and in the morning so that I’m loose.”
Rose also apologized for skipping out on reporters after the end of Monday’s win against the Atlanta Hawks. He typically is one of the Bulls’ most accessible players.
“I was just tired of hearing about my back,” Rose said. “I just needed a break.”
To be continued: Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said he was not sure when Richard Hamilton would be able to play after the All-Star break.
Hamilton, 34, missed his 13th consecutive game Wednesday because of a sore right thigh. He missed 10 games earlier this season because of a groin injury.
“We’ll see, but he is doing a lot more,” said Thibodeau, whose team is 9-2 with Hamilton in the starting lineup and 18-5 with Ronnie Brewer starting in his place. “He’s taking on contact now, which is a good sign.”
Bulls bits: Bulls guard C.J. Watson missed his second game because of a concussion. … Wisconsin alum Jon Leuer started his 10th game at center for the Bucks.