The former league MVP told a room full of reporters before Friday night's preseason game against the Indiana Pacers that the Chicago Bulls have only one rival -- and it's the Miami Heat (h/t ESPN Chicago):
"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. "I say the team that is more like a rivalry is when Darren Collison was on the team."
Rose went on to call the Pacers a "great team," pointing to their run last year to the Eastern Conference finals as proof. He said that the Bulls-Pacers can become a rivalry in due time but that it just doesn't feel like a rivalry right now.
While this may stir up Indiana fans, it really shouldn't. Rose didn't bash the Pacers; he acknowledged that the they were a great team and a real contender. He hasn't even seen Indiana in the playoffs since 2011 -- the only time the Pacers and Bulls have met in the playoffs in Rose's career -- when Chicago defeated the Pacers in the first round.
Miami is the top dog in the Eastern Conference, and while a heated Bulls-Pacers rivalry might provide a fun narrative, defeating the Heat is where both teams should channel their focus.
"We're all battling for the same thing," he said. "They're deep, they're talented, so we know how good they are.