Did Derrick Rose almost sign with a Croatian team?

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes:

Last month, Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose said he had one concrete offer from a European team but that the NBA lockout would have to last deep into the season for him to consider it.

In an interview at Mondo.rs, the sports director of Croatian team KK Zagreb claims to be that team.

“We reached an economic agreement, but we could not find an agreement about the games,” KK Zagreb’s Hrvoje Ciketiae said in the interview. “Rose for sponsor obligations would have missed three Euroleague games. And we could not allow that.”

ESPNChicago’s Nick Friedell’s take:

I never got the sense in talking to Derrick Rose or the anyone within his trusted circle that he was intent on playing overseas. He knew there was money to be made playing ball in a foreign country during the lockout, but he seemed to be enjoying his summer in and around Los Angeles while mixing in trips to Chicago and promotional excursions around the world for Adidas. That’s why I’m simply not putting much stock into this report. Rose knew the risks involved with going overseas, especially given that if and when the lockout does finally end he will be getting a max extension from the Bulls.

Rose wants to grow his brand internationally, but he trusts his marketing people and the people at Adidas to get him where he needs to be. For Rose, the risks of playing in Croatia, even for a month, far outweigh any rewards that may come his way because of the experience. Sooner or later, we’ll find out if the 23-year-old ever truly considered playing in Croatia, but for the time being I think this is just another international team looking to make some headlines while the NBA and the NBPA tries to figure out what the next step is in the ongoing labor battle.

I agree with Friedell. While I don’t doubt that Rose and his people were (and likely still are) exploring their options — who wouldn’t? — that was probably all that was really happening.

Yet the NBA lockout continues. And it appears two more weeks of the season are going to be cancelled. With foreign teams circling like sharks, it makes you wonder whether Rose or some other superstar(s) will end up playing overseas if things drag out indefinitely.

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