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LeBron James on Derrick Rose’s absence: ‘We hope this ain’t the end’

James is concerned about the Cavaliers’ starting point guard

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Washington Wizards Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James said he was excited to play with Derrick Rose when he signed with the Cavaliers earlier this summer, but now he and the team may be faced with seeing the end of Rose in the NBA overall.

Rose is evaluating his future in the NBA after dealing with a plethora of injuries throughout the last decade and his inability to return to the MVP form he once had. According to a report from Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon, James is more concerned about Rose’s well-being off the court than on it.

When asked about Rose’s absence from the team this week, James said it doesn’t mean much for the team on the court. But off the court, everyone is hoping Rose makes the right decision for himself.

"I don't think it means too much for the team, but I think more importantly as one of his brothers, that's somebody we got to know these last couple months," James said. "We want, whatever he decides to do, we want the best for him. At the end of the day, you can't substitute nothing for happiness."

James has always been one of the more thoughtful players in the league with his takes on nuanced matters both on and off the court and has always been an advocate for athletes across the sports spectrum. That isn’t changing here with his teammate.

Rose isn’t helping the Cavaliers anyway

The Cavaliers currently have the longest winning streak in the league of seven games and are currently the third seed in the Eastern Conference at 12-7. They’ve caught a stride without Rose, and don’t necessarily need him to continue it.

He wasn’t doing much to help the team, anyway. He had a player efficiency rating of 12 and the Cavaliers were a -12.6 with him on the court. In other words, he wasn’t doing very much to help them win games.

So James is right — Rose returning to the team won’t help them in terms of basketball.

James wants Rose to be in the best shape mentally

Injuries can be frustrating — especially when a player falls as far as Rose has. Rose was once considered James’ biggest rival on the court and was the youngest MVP the league has ever seen. Whether he deserved the award or not can be debated until the end of time, but he won it.

Since tearing his ACL in 2011, Rose just hasn’t been able to stay on the floor. He’s shown glimpses of what he once was, but he’s still clearly a shell of his former self. A fall from where he once was cannot be an easy one.

James doesn’t mind if Rose doesn’t return to the team, but said he’s hoping this isn’t the end of his career. But the most important thing for Rose, according to James, is getting himself in his best form mentally. There’s life after basketball for every one of these players, and knowing when it’s time to stop playing is the start of that. If this is the right decision for Rose, then so be it.