Jalen Rose thinks he is caught between a rock and a hard place.
No matter what Rose does, the Raptors guard feels like he can't win.
In a lengthy chat with reporters, the unhappy sixth man essentially said as much yesterday.
"I know what this is about and I know this isn't necessarily about Jalen Rose," the Raptors' top scorer said. "It's about the team. I know it's not just about basketball production. If you talk about basketball production, when you roll the ball out there, Jalen Rose is going to be a factor. That's just a fact.
"There are going to be people talking about what I can't bring to the table. But every player has strengths and weaknesses I guess. I'm the only 6-foot-8 point guard I've seen in the league since Magic (Johnson). If I'm not an unselfish player and I'm not a player who can get baskets and create plays for other people, I wouldn't have made it this far."
All the talk about Rose, 31, being more effective coming off the bench than as a starter doesn't make sense to the 11-year veteran, even though his statistics have improved as a reserve. Play him more and Rose thinks he'll do more.
"Like I told you guys from the beginning, it's Jalen Rose and I'm in a catch-22 anyway," he said. "If I go out there the first couple of games I come off the bench and go into a shooting slump or turnover slump or whatever, it's, 'Oh, he's dogging it, oh he doesn't love his role, oh he's pouting, oh blah blah blah. I go out and play well and it's, 'Oh, he's relishing his new role and (playing) fewer minutes.' "
Still, Rose does not plan to ask for a trade. He figures something is coming whether he requests a move or not.
"(Coming off the bench) is an adjustment and it is a demotion and I feel like probably something is going to happen," he said. "I don't know if that means trade ... but I feel like something has got to give soon."
With a new general manger in Rob Babcock and a new coach in Sam Mitchell, Rose understands he is not one of the new regime's guys.
"If you were to get a job today and you were the boss, what are you going to do?" Rose said. "You're going to bring in your own people and they are going to support what you support, feel how you feel and believe how you believe."
So where does Rose fit in?
"I feel like I'm an 11-year veteran who fits in the same place Donyell Marshall fits -- guys who were very productive players in Toronto and before Toronto and even had teams that had better records than in Toronto yet are struggling to find minutes."
Rose will not get excited when the Raptors win three of four games at home against teams like the lowly Golden State Warriors. He'll simply keep wondering about one thing.
"At the end of the day you ask yourself those questions like why do I (have) to be the only guy in the NBA who comes off the bench and leads his team in scoring," Rose said. "That's a huge irony."