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Crossroads 2017: Bucks Twitter Backlash over Derrick Rose Meeting

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NBA: New York Knicks at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Like you, my morning was interrupted by the news of Derrick Rose meeting with the Milwaukee Bucks today, presumably to discuss the potential terms of a contract offer with the team. While it is known that the Bucks are interested in creating additional space under the luxury tax, the team does not currently have enough space to sign Rose to the sort of deal many expect he would agree to.

Even before a whiff of a rumor about any move to open up cap space in order to sign Rose came out, Bucks Twitter was furious:

The immediate answer to “Why so mad?” is somewhat obvious: Derrick Rose is a former MVP/All Star who hasn’t played up to that standard in years, has serious off-court baggage that has impacted his on-court availability, comes with serious injury concerns, and projects to be a terrible fit on a team because of his poor outside shooting, poor defense, and ball-dominant ways.

There’s a lot to not like about Derrick Rose as a Buck. There might be something to like if you really look closely enough, but that’s not the point. Why did the news of a meeting with a former Most Valuable Player blow up against the team?

In a word, trust. The fanbase’s trust in the Milwaukee Bucks has been tested over the past few years, even after the outstanding ownership transition navigated by Herb Kohl, Marc Lasry, and Wes Edens, and the subsequent arena deal that kept the team in Wisconsin. No matter how much good will that earned them, the Bucks’ new owners (and administration they’ve put into place) have chipped away at it, bit by bit.

There’s no need to rehash the long list of events that has caused the team to come under fire from us fans, but the fact that the list is so long over only about three years shows just how much scrutiny the team is under, even for something as innocuous as a “meeting” with Derrick Rose.

This summer is an important summer, I don’t know how many more times it can be said. With Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks have the rarest ingredient for building a championship contender, but these other things just keep popping up and make the team look bad. The Jason Kidd/Larry Drew debacle. The immortal Brandon Knight/Michael Carter-Williams trade. The Justin Zanik/Jon Horst snafu. These things (among others) test the trust fans have in a team, and the end result is a full-on social media meltdown over something that, in the long run, probably means nothing.

The Milwaukee Bucks need to see this and understand where it’s coming from. Maybe they change their approach to running the franchise, and maybe they don’t, but they need to at least be aware of how much more fragile their decisions has made their relationship with the fanbase.

And if the team dumps salary in order to actually sign Derrick Rose? A lot of us will be here, either finding a way to make it work or railing against the team for making such a dumb move, even before a single game is played. But not all of us will stick around for it, and that matters. And maybe those who jump ship are wrong, and things will actually work out, despite our trepidation.

As Wes Edens said, the team is focused on results. We have to hope they know what they’re doing, but this sort of thing makes it harder to trust that they do.