Thirteen months ago, the Knicks season ended with the Atlanta Hawks in a tough first-round series where Derrick Rose looked like the Knicks’ best player. While Julius Randle was the Knicks’ undisputed best and most important player in their resurgent 2020-21 season, Rose was perhaps the second most important player that season. After starting the year with a Detroit Pistons team looking to rejuvenate and rebuild, Rose was acquired for Dennis Smith Jr. and a second-round pick. Reunited with his former coach, Tom Thibodeau, Rose quickly proved to be incredibly important. He was the only player outside of Julius Randle who could get his own shot and create for others. And his defense and improved outside shooting have become a necessity. On a roster that lacked attacking talent, Rose’s goalscoring ability was undeniably valuable.
And due to his resurgent season, it was no surprise that many expectations were placed on the former MVP heading into 2021-22. Sure, the Knicks acquired Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier to start in the backcourt, and fans expected Immanuel Quickley to take another step, but Rose was always going to be the constant rock he’d been at. during the previous season. And while Rose’s minutes took a little while with the new roster, he was exactly that: a very solid and consistent player. But the problem was that he wasn’t on the pitch much last season. After undergoing multiple ankle procedures, Rose missed the final 56 games of the season.
So where does that leave Rose and her future? Rose still put up solid numbers of 12.0 PPG, 4.0 APG, 3.0 RPG and 0.8 SPG on 44.5% from the field and 40.2% from three. But Rose turns 34 later this year, and we’re talking about an injury-prone guard coming off another injury-plagued season. With the roster as is, it’s very possible the front office will look to move Rose for another shooter or defender. While the front office and Coach Thibodeau – just like the fans – love Rose, the Knicks currently have a lot of guards. Incoming free agent Jalen Brunson is a playmaker and the Knicks still have the aforementioned Fournier and Quickley to back RJ Barrett, Quentin Grimes and Miles McBride. Not all of these guys are point guards, but that’s a lot of players looking to compete for minutes. If the Knicks were in ‘win now’ mode with the roster to accommodate that mentality, then it would make sense to keep Rose on some of the other young guys, but with the direction of the current team, it might be better to say goodbye to the fan favorite.
That being said, chances are the roster will change significantly before training camp. The Knicks have been heavily linked with Donovan Mitchell lately, and there’s a good chance the Knicks will have to part ways with Grimes and/or Quickley. If the Knicks were to lose them in a trade for Mitchell, they’ll surely need Rose to shore up the second unit. His veteran experience and leadership would come in handy, and his ability to slot in as a starter would also allow the Knicks to rest Mitchell or Brunson from time to time. A bench unit led by Rose, Isaiah Hartenstein and any parts they could get from Utah (like a Jarred Vanderbilt or Rudy Gay) could be both fun to watch and competitive.
.@JakeLFischer confirms the report that the Jazz are not necessarily interested in taking over RJ Barrett’s projected salary after an extension.
Also note that Utah prefers Derrick Rose as a salary equalizer in a deal over Fournier/Randle as he is an expiring deal.
— KnicksFeed and the Big Steppers (@knickzfeed) July 15, 2022
But then a potential Mitchell trade also brings up the potential Russell Westbrook trade. The Knicks are rumored to be interested in trading for the Lakers point guard if they can land Mitchell. It’s still unclear what that would look like, but bringing in another guard could put one of the new guys (Brunson) on the bench and even if the Knicks end up waiving him, the deal could involve other likely elements. to have an impact on Rose. future too.
All this to say that we really don’t know what Rose’s future holds. Between the fact that we saw Quickley come into its own at the end of the season and the fact that Rose only managed to play 26 games last season, he’s become a bit of an afterthought. And he’s in a bit of a weird place right now. He’s too good and valuable for the team to throw him out for nothing, but he’s also an aging injury-prone guard on a young roster full of up-and-coming guards. Ultimately, it will depend on whether the Mitchell trade is successful and which coins remain on the list. And before we cite feelings and relationships as the reason the team would keep him, let’s not forget that the team parted ways with Taj Gibson – another favorite of players, fans, coaches and the front office. – not so long ago.