His hometown of Chicago seems like a good place for Derrick Rose to reunite with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
But it's not clear when Rose will return to the Cavs. Cleveland's other ex-Bulls, Dwyane Wade and Kyle Korver, figure to own the spotlight during Monday's game at the United Center.
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Outlook: The Cavaliers' poor start is a distant memory now. Saturday's win over Memphis was Cleveland's 11th straight. LeBron James is stating his case for MVP, averaging 28.3 points, 8.7 assists and 7.9 rebounds. PF Kevin Love is next on the scoring list at 19.0 ppg. Ex-Bull Dwyane Wade, now coming off the bench, is averaging 11.4 ppg, while Kyle Korver is shooting 44 percent from 3-point range. Derrick Rose is still sidelined by an ankle injury and not with the team. Tristan Thompson (calf) and Iman Shumpert (knee) are also out. The Bulls lost at Cleveland 119-112 on Oct. 24, dropping Fred Hoiberg's record vs. the Cavs to 7-2.
Next: Indiana Pacers on Wednesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 6 p.m.
-- Mike McGraw
According to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, the Cavaliers have been in touch with Rose and expect him to return to the team. Rose has been sidelined since Nov. 9 with a left-ankle injury, and he took an excused leave of absence from the Cavs the night before Thanksgiving.
It hasn't been clear exactly why Rose asked for some time off, although he would rightfully feel frustrated about his injury-plagued career. Is the biggest problem dealing with pain, constant rehab, not being able to match his MVP level of 2010-11? Cavs teammate LeBron James talked about Rose on Saturday.
"Whenever he's ready to tell us or whatever, we're ready for that," James said, according to the Plain-Dealer. "You don't ever fast-track someone's process of what they may be going through. When they're ready to talk about it or ready to bring it to the forefront, as his teammates we'll be ready for it."
"From us as players, we don't need an answer from him; we want him to be as great as he can be, off the floor first before he even thinks about being on the floor."
Rose has played in only seven games this season but is the Cavs' third-leading scorer behind James and Kevin Love at 14.3 ppg. Rose didn't play when the Bulls lost in Cleveland on Oct. 24 because of the ankle injury.
"I think for Derrick, the big thing you hope everything works out for the best -- whatever direction that is," said Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg, who coached Rose in 2015-16. "I hope he does get back to play again. Playing against him in the preseason, he looked really good. He had his explosiveness. Always wish for the best for Derrick."
Wade rolling as sixth man:
Remember when Cleveland started out 5-7 and people were suggesting Dwyane Wade ruined the Cavs' chemistry? Now the Cavaliers have won 11 in a row and LeBron James is touting his old friend as a potential Sixth Man Award winner.
Over the last six games, Wade is averaging 15.8 points and shooting 52.8 percent from the field. Wade left Miami last season to play for his hometown Bulls but accepted a buyout when the Bulls opted to rebuild. He will be paid roughly $18 million by the Bulls this season.
"I really enjoyed coaching Dwyane," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said Sunday at the Advocate Center. "He had the injury late in the year but got himself back in the playoffs and had some really good moments for us. A chance to coach a first-ballot Hall of Famer was great and I thought he was great for our young guys."
Mirotic on track:
Injured forward Nikola Mirotic remains on target to return to game action sometime this week, though Monday against Cleveland seems unlikely.
Mirotic said he's having fun shooting against rookie Lauri Markkanen after practices.
"I'm beating him in shooting, yeah. But the most important is how you're shooting in the games at the end of the day," Mirotic said Sunday. "But we're really having some competitions here after the practices. Some days he wins, some days are mine. But most of the days I do win."
Hoiberg said he's uncertain if Bobby Portis, who missed Friday's game with a right-arm contusion, will play Monday.
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