NBA AM: The Curious Case Of Derrick Rose


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The Curious Case Of Derrick Rose

The local media in New York are having a field day on the latest developments with Knicks guard Derrick Rose. Nothing generates interest like New York Knicks drama, but before this gets too silly, let’s offer a different perspective.

While addressing the media upon his return, Rose said that his decision to not be with the team on Monday was a personal family matter and that he needed to be with his mother and his son.

Rose has yet to explain what was so important in that equation as to justify him not notifying the team, but given how this looks it can be played one of two ways: Either Rose was genuinely pissed at the Knicks and so emotionally distraught that he had to get away, or there may be something more serious at play here that Derrick does not want to share.

Let’s say for a moment your mother called you abruptly with some devastating news, maybe an illness or maybe something traumatic that had happened – would your first response be to call your boss, or would it be to get to the situation and sort it out after?

The narrative that Rose quit on his team is not backed up with his actions following the missed game. The fact that the Knicks opted only to fine Rose and not suspend him generally supports the idea that this was a real thing, likely a very personal thing.

In time the entire story will come out – it almost always does. But for the Knicks, the distraction it’s caused is also very real. It’s exposed long snickered about issues with the structure of the team and how things are being managed.

Knicks president Phil Jackson is again a silent participant in all of this; that’s not a good thing. Jackson is supposed to be the leader of the team. He is expected to set the tone for how things are supposed to go, but again another controversy with nothing heard from the Zen Master.

Head coach Jeff Hornacek is trying to do his best, as the faceman for the team, but even his answers to the questions leave more holes than they fill. If this was genuinely a real family issue, then the loudest voice in the room should say that and not let the noise bury their point guard.

Rose’s situation opens so many wounds for the Knicks that it’s hard to ignore them.

The team is 17-21 on the season and has lost eight of their last ten games. Their star player in Carmelo Anthony is routinely getting himself ejected from games. Joakim Noah has been a shell of the player they expected him to be when they gave him a four-year, $72 million contract. Derrick Rose was looking like a passable experiment, and then it went south with the Knicks’ win-loss record.

Is there a fix for the Knicks? The truth is likely no.

Given what’s taken place with Rose, it’s highly doubtful anyone offers anything in a trade for him. Holding his Bird Rights would be meaningful if the acquiring team wanted to sign Rose this summer, but would the acquiring team want to give up assets to obtain him now? Moving $21.32 million in salary is tough to pull off, even if the Knicks take back less value, and that’s before you factor in that the Knicks would likely rather have the cap space Rose clears than the player contracts he would return.

Carmelo Anthony is due for a new round of trade rumors, but like previous years where Anthony trade ideas were kicked around, he controls his future with his no-trade clause. A source close to Anthony says he’s unwilling to green-light a trade out of New York, even with how bad it’s turned.

Given how Noah has played, it’s extremely unlikely anyone takes on his contract, even though Knicks sources say he’s been great to have around from a locker room and leadership point of view. The future of the Knicks franchise is Kristaps Porzingis, so there is no scenario in which he is moved. Courtney Lee could be a possible trade chip, but like Noah, he hasn’t exactly set the world on fire as a Knick, and he’s owed $36.75 million after this season.

The Knicks have some bench pieces in forward Kyle O’Quinn and point guard Brandon Jennings, but do either of them return the answer to the Knicks problems on the court? That again is likely no. The Knicks have two surprise young guys in Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Willie Hernangomez, but both make so little in salary to make a big trade work, and both have shown enough promise to hang on to them for life after Carmelo.

As much as the Knicks might need a trade to shake up the locker room and find some spark, the truth is, they just don’t have anything other teams would want. Moving Rose might sound attractive, but he won’t return more than he is. Moving Anthony might look equally appealing, but he controls that process.

Sadly, this is who the Knicks are. A team that had a lot of promise that simply failed to materialize. Rose is going to catch the brunt of that frustration, but he is hardly the only cause – he is just the latest Knick in the line of the media’s fire.

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