HANG TIME, Texas — LeBron James to Miami. Chris Paul to the L.A. Clippers. Dwight Howard to the L.A. Lakers.
So who’s next to spin the wheel of free agent fortune and plot his escape to greener pastures?
Would you believe Derrick Rose?
That’s the latest white-hot offering from former Magic coach-turned-media-flamethrower Stan Van Gundy, whom we’ve got to figure owns considerable stock in a Molotov cocktail factory or is auditioning to replace Mrs. O’Leary’s cow as the most famous fire-starter in Chicago history.
Speaking on AM-740’s The Game in Orlando, the former Magic coach sent an ill breeze through the Windy City by suggesting that there would come a time when Rose would look to leave Chicago.
“I think the interesting one coming up in the future is going to be Derrick Rose,” Van Gundy said. “I think Derrick Rose is a great, great representative of our league, and he’s a great player. And he’s got good players around him, very good players around him, but if (the Bulls) can’t get another star there for him is he eventually going to look around and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got to work this out on my own and I’ve got to find somehow to get somewhere else so that I will have a chance to play with another star.’ The league has changed.”
Rose, who is rehabbing the torn ACL he suffered in Game 1 of the playoffs against Philadelphia last spring, has never even hinted at making a head-fake toward the door. In fact, since signing his five-year, $90-million contract extension, he has repeatedly said that he wants and plans to finish his career in Chicago. What’s more, in the past two seasons with coach Tom Thibodeau at the helm, Rose has won an MVP award and twice led his team to the NBA’s best regular-season record.
In his defense, Van Gundy was talking about a possible future scenario if Rose were unable to win a championship with the pieces that can be put around him in Chicago and was using the 2012 championship by the Heat as an example.
“The league has changed,” Van Gundy said. “It used to be the stars wanted to sort of have their own team, they certainly wanted good players around them, but now everything’s changed. I think it started with the Celtics, bringing (Kevin) Garnett, (Paul) Pierce and (Ray) Allen together and everybody saw that and decided, ‘Look, this is the only way we’re going to win.’
“I think sometimes the players get sort of chastised for that, but if you’re a LeBron James and you’re looking at (the situation) you might want to win it in Cleveland, you might want to lead your own franchise, same with Dwight Howard, but you’re looking around.”
The latest musings from StanVan came when he was asked if Orlando fans could have any faith in luring free agents or keeping franchise-type stars in light of the high profile departures of both Shaquille O’Neal and Howard.
“I think they can lure free agents,” Van Gundy said. “Look, free agency comes down to the money, first of all. It comes down to the money. This isn’t a college recruiting situation, though that a lot of times comes down to money, too. But this is (about) money. So if you’ve got more money than somebody else, you’re going to get the guy.”
Of course, that’s not entirely true, since both James and Chris Bosh did leave some money on the table to make their jumps to Miami. But that’s no reason to interrupt a good rant.
The daily brain droppings from Van Gundy are nothing if not entertaining, particularly in the August dog-days of the offseason. One could only wish that he’d get a shot at moderating one of the upcoming presidential debates, just for the sheer sport of making the candidates dance like they were barefoot on hot coals.
In the past five days, Van Gundy has blasted the Magic organization for mishandling the affair with Howard and then labeled CEO Alex Martins naive and “with no knowledge of the game.” Now he’s pulled a pack of matches out of his pocket to light up Chicago.
At least with Mrs. O’Leary’s cow, it was an accident.