Rose shows improvement at Team USA camp

Published: 7/30/2009 12:01 AM

Bulls guard Derrick Rose certainly didn't stand out in a USA Basketball scrimmage at Las Vegas last weekend by finishing with 6 points and 2 assists as his team lost by 19.

During practices that preceded the intrasquad games, though, Rose showed off several areas of improvement, according to Bulls general manager Gar Forman, who watched the entire minicamp.

"In the practices and the scrimmages, he was excellent, just did a real nice job running the team," Forman said. "He was playmaking for others, penetrating and finding guys. He made some plays for himself but was very unselfish. He really looked like he belonged. He was vocal getting his team into offense and looked very, very confident."

When the Bulls' season ended with a seven-game playoff loss to Boston, Rose talked about working on his outside shot, leadership and defense during the summer. He has spent much of the off-season in Los Angeles but will be back in town for his basketball camp next week.

"His shooting was really good," Forman said. "He didn't shoot it much in the game. In the practices and scrimmages, he shot it well. They went through some drillwork and I don't remember him missing but one or two shots. His shot looks improved."

Roster stable for now: Things appear to be quiet on the trade front, although as long as Carlos Boozer is still in Utah and New York's David Lee remains unsigned, there is still a chance for the Bulls to make a significant move.

Boozer is going to leave the Jazz sooner or later, but if Utah can't find a way to trim its payroll in a deal, he could stay on the roster into next season.

"We're still in contact with a number of teams," GM Gar Forman said. "We're always exploring ways we can get better. At the same time, we like our young core. We like where we're at. We thought the rookies (James Johnson and Taj Gibson) made nice progress in the summer league.

"The majority of our core is back from last season. I think Jannero (Pargo) is going to help. Really, John (Salmons) and Brad (Miller) having been with us and going through a full training camp is going to help us. For the most part, I think we're pretty much done."

The Bulls have 12 players under contract for next season, and center Aaron Gray will most likely be No. 13.

International incidents: Although Luol Deng won't play for Great Britain in the European championships this summer, he is making progress from a stress fracture in his right tibia.

"As I look out my window right now, he's going through a hard workout out on the floor - cutting, shooting," GM Gar Forman said.

Forman disagreed with a story this week on suggesting the French national team has sought the Bulls' permission for Joakim Noah to play in some qualifiers for the European championships.

"That's up to Joakim. We don't make that decision," Forman said. "He's had a summer plan in place, as far as lifting and skill development, that he's been very, very committed to. I know the plan was just to go spend a week or two over there with them and get acclimated, then continue with his strength training and skill work."

Boozer fine with Paxsons: During an appearance on WMVP's "Waddle & Silvy Show" this week, Utah's Carlos Boozer insisted he had no issues with former Cavaliers general manager Jim Paxson, now a Bulls consultant. Paxson's younger brother, John, is the Bulls' vice president of basketball operations.

In 2004, Jim Paxson was in Cleveland when Boozer was set free from the third year of his rookie contract, a decision made by former Cleveland owner Gordon Gund. The Cavs thought they would re-sign him for the mid-level exception, but Boozer bolted for Utah and a six-year, $70 million deal. Paxson didn't last much longer with the Cavs.

"I've always had respect for Jim," Boozer said on the radio. "Obviously, he drafted me when I first came out of college, so I have huge respect for him. I've seen him many times after that. Obviously, if I came here, me and John Paxson wouldn't have any issues."

Team sources have maintained that if any hard feelings still exist from the Cleveland episode, the Paxsons would not let them get in the way if they thought trading for Boozer was a good move.