LAS VEGAS -- Despite not feeling comfortable in the role, Derrick Rose participated in the Bulls' free-agency pitches to Carmelo Anthony and Pau Gasol.
The Bulls landed the latter and missed on the former. Now that the roster is basically set, Rose likes what he sees.
"I think we have a contender," Rose said. "They were saying something about putting us on top of the East. We know as a team what we're trying to do. We all have one goal. Individually, all summer, everybody worked on their games. Everybody is trying to compete for that title next year."
Many league observers thought Anthony represented the crucial missing piece toward that end. And Rose, who spent roughly 20 minutes talking to Anthony at the United Center during his Chicago visit, didn't necessarily disagree.
"I mean, who wouldn't be disappointed?" Rose said, laughing, when asked if he was disappointed Anthony stayed with the Knicks. "But at the same time, you can't be mad at the decision he made. ... You've got your family to think about. You've got money to think about.
"Not to say you should think about money. But when you're talking about millions and millions of dollars, you can't just put that behind you. So I'm not mad with the decision that he made, and I wish him nothing but the best."
Rose said his message to Anthony was simple: Come to Chicago, and the game would be easy for both of them.
"I don't know how easy, but of course it would be easy," Rose said. "And just plain and simple that we wanted him to come. He decided to go somewhere else, but it's no hard feelings. ... He's a grown man."
Rose talked to Gasol at length on the phone and called the addition of the two-time NBA champion "great."
"When you think about him winning championships and bringing that experience to our team and him being around our bigs like Joakim (Noah) and talking to them and giving them advice ... I think that's all we needed," Rose said. "You add Aaron Brooks. You add (Doug) McDermott. I think we're going to be a strong contender."
The Bulls are expected to add another player with a veteran's minimum contract. League sources said they've had serious talks with guard Toney Douglas.
Of course, Rose's return from a second serious knee injury will be the Bulls' biggest offseason addition.
"He's always had the floater," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "How much he uses that depends on who we have at the off-guard position. You have to make sure that person can complement what Derrick does well.
"He's great with the ball and off the ball. That's one of the values of having a guy like Kirk Hinrich. We feel that will allow him to do that."
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