DON’T count the Chicago Bulls out.
Thus said Derrick Rose, who believes the Bulls will still be a team to reckon with this season despite several upgrades made by other teams for the coming 2013-2014 NBA campaign.
Rose said that the Bulls have been preparing early for the season as he looks forward to finally rejoining his teammates missing all of last season due to an injury.
“I think we have a great opportunity,” said Rose in a press conference on Monday at the Marriott Hotel during his Manila tour. “I think the guys that we have, they are getting ready now, eight are back in Chicago training right now. That’s rare for eight guys to be back in the city training with the head coach doing workouts.
“That’s saying to me that they are getting ready for a big year,” Rose said as he gamely answered questions from the media for 30 minutes.
Rose said that he has been preparing for his return even during his current promotional tour, Manila being the last stop in a trip that has brought him to Europe and Asia.
“I have to prepare, too. Being one of the leaders of the team, I have to come back and lead by example, be the first to come in practice and the last one to leave,” said Rose.
Rose admitted he is looking at all the teams as contenders, making special mention of Brooklyn and the New York Knicks.
“There was a lot of great moves that happened this offseason so you can’t just say one team because there are also other teams like Brooklyn. They got the Boston team. New York got players even those they had previously … Even the rebuilding teams, you can’t count them out because they are making moves, getting contracts,” said Rose.
“Even if you think it will be an easy game, it’s always going to be tough and that’s what’s going to happen especially for the Bulls,” Rose said.
Rose said that he is raring to return to the floor and join his teammates after recovering from a torn ACL. Despite Rose's absence, the Bulls still reached the second round of the playoffs where they lost to eventual champion Miami Heat.
“I know I am (ready). It’s just (a matter) of going out there and playing with confidence … I’ve been preparing for a whole year now so I’m not worried,” said Rose.
The former No. 1 pick overall said playing with his teammates was what he missed the most as he watched the team battle in the playoffs without him.
“I miss playing with my teammates,” he said. “I love playing with them especially the core group. Being out there, playing hard, playing through injury, getting to the second round.
“I wanted to be with them but at the same time, I know I have a bright future. But being with my teammates is what I miss the most.”