Derrick Rose calls out the Pacers for not being a true rival of the Bulls

Rose didn't play in a single game last season, due to injury, but now he's criticizing a team that reached the conference finals in 2013 instead of his own? That doesn't make a whole bunch of sense to me

Derrick Rose, star point guard for the Chicago Bulls, has not played in a NBA regular season in over one calendar year, but is still managing to cause controversy and intrigue with his words alone.

Recently, Rose made his feelings clear about the rivalry between his Bulls and the Indiana Pacers, the Bulls' biggest competition in the Eastern Conference's Central Division. Chicago's franchise player made it clear, before a recent preseason contest vs Indiana, that he thinks Chicago's only real rival at this point is the defending champion Miami Heat. The Chicago native reiterated how the Pacers-Bulls conflict could escalate more into a heated rivalry in the years to come, but it is not much of anything right now.

From ESPNChicago's Nick Friedell: "People say that it's a rivalry, but I don't really see it," Rose said before scoring 32 points in the team's 103-98 win against the Pacers…"

"If anything, by probably in a year or two, it [the Pacers] could become a rival. But right now, people say it's a rival. …I just don't see it now."

Harsh words from Rose who, even with some backtracking, clearly does not view the Pacers as an elite team in the East or a viable competitor for the Bulls to have to deal with. Remember, this is an Indiana team that was one win from winning the East and heading to the NBA Finals. So it makes it a bit more confusing as to why Rose would even say something to the tune of disrespecting a top contender.

Players on the Pacers, such as Danny Granger, have talked for years about how they want to establish a tight rivalry with their divisional foes from a state to the west.

"…We're [the Pacers and the Bulls] really close, so a lot of times there's a lot of Bulls fans here [Indiana] and vice versa. I think as long as we're in the division, we're going to be rivals."– Danny Granger on Indiana, from ESPNChicago's Nick Friedell.

When one half of a possible "rivalry" situation thinks a competition exists between the involved teams but the other half does not, the sides are primed for a very, very interesting season series.

For the Pacers, they have to prove to Chicago and Derrick Rose that they are still the team which nearly won the Eastern Conference a year ago. For the Bulls, they have to live up to the lofty expectations they have assigned to themselves and those other teams have assigned to them. If not, it could be a very embarrassing year for Tom Thibodeau's troops, which makes this contention all the more exciting for the regular season starting in less than a week.

About Josh Burton

I'm a New York native who has been a Nets season ticket holder, in both New Jersey and now Brooklyn, for his entire life. Northwestern University (Medill School of Journalism) '18

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