The Chicago Bulls' point guard reiterated that point again Sunday, telling Yahoo! Sports that it's "not his job" to be part of a sales pitch to the All-Star forward, who is set to become a free agent Tuesday after opting out of his contract with the New York Knicks.
"If they want to come, they can come," Rose told Yahoo! Sports.
That news won't come as a surprise to a Bulls front office that was never banking on Rose being part of that pitch in the first place. The Bulls are expected to meet with Anthony on Tuesday during the first day of free agency, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein.
"I love Melo's game," Rose told Yahoo! Sports. "He's a great player. Takes the game serious. He's consistent. He shoots the ball great. I love his heart. I can play with anybody, no matter who it is. I believe I can play with anyone if they step on the court with me."When asked Tuesday about Rose's reluctance to recruit, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said their sales pitch to free agency will center around the team. "What we're selling is our team and so I'm sure free agents are well aware of our team and the guys that we do have and they'll research and our players will be available to talk," Thibodeau said. "We think we have a lot to offer, we think we have great depth, we have great tradition and we're positioned well to go forward. We think we do have a lot to sell."
What surely sent shockwaves throughout the Bulls' organization late Sunday night was Rose's revelation that he still isn't sure if he wants to participate in Team USA's training camp late next month in Las Vegas.
"I still don't know yet," Rose told Yahoo!. "If I'm feeling right and the time is [right], for sure I will go out there. My body is responding good, but you never know."
Rose, who was speaking to kids at a camp run by former teammate Drew Gooden in California, said he would decide whether to participate after discussing it with his agent, B.J. Armstrong. The Bulls have made it clear that they would like for Rose to be a part of the Team USA camp and were hopeful he would secure a place on the squad. Bulls general manager Gar Forman, Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski and Bulls head coach -- and Team USA assistant -- Thibodeau have all expressed interest in seeing Rose participate.
Thibodeau downplayed Rose's comments when asked about them on Tuesday.
"It's not anything different from what we've said all along in terms of if he's ready to go, he's going, Thibodeau said Tuesday. "He wants to go, that's what he's told me, that's what he's told USA Basketball. But it's a step-by-step process. He's coming along fine. The next step is to participate with summer league and if that goes well he goes to USA and if that goes well he'll play in those games. That's the way we're approaching it. And again, you don't know the context in which it was said. From what we're seeing, he's making good steady progress, he looks great and that's all we can go by."
The Bulls are going to support Rose in whatever decision he makes, but they have to be concerned that he would even broach the possibility of passing on the camp given how much time he has missed over the past three seasons. The 25-year-old has played in just 49 games over the past three years due to injury, but said he remains confident he can step back on the floor and play at a high level.
"I think I was ready a long time ago," Rose told Yahoo!. "Right now is about just getting all the wrinkles out. I've been playing for a long time, even though nobody has [seen it]. I want to just step on the court and I want people to see that I'm the same."
Forman said last week that Rose has been "aggressive" in his rehab and continues 5-on-5 work in practice. Thibodeau noted that Rose is expected to practice with the Bulls' summer league team. The Bulls have remained outwardly confident regarding Rose's status, but his comments can't be sitting well as they begin the process of trying to woo Anthony and others to Chicago.