Prized Free Agent Chose Knicks Over 4 Other Teams: Report

Derrick Rose

Getty Immanuel Quickley #5, Obi Toppin #1, Derrick Rose #4 and Alec Burks #18 talk with Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau during a game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on February 09, 2021 in Miami, Florida.

As an unrestricted free agent, the ball was in Derrick Rose’s court regarding his next landing spot. And fresh off a resurgent 2020-21 campaign for the New York Knicks, Rose was always going to be a hot commodity this offseason.

So it’s no surprise that a report surfaced that laid out just how highly coveted Rose was. The three-time All-Star fielded interest from five teams, according to Mark Medina of USA Today. Ultimately, Rose chose to stick in New York, where he flourished this past season as he helped lead the Knicks into the playoffs.

The list of other teams interested in Rose’s services included the Miami Heat, New Orleans Pelicans, Washington Wizards and Chicago Bulls — the team that drafted Rose with the first pick in 2008 and with whom he spent seven seasons, including his 2010-11 MVP campaign.

Medina explained that sign-and-trades for Kyle Lowry (who landed with the Heat) and Lonzo Ball (who wound up with the Bulls) set the stage for Rose and the Knicks to come to terms on a three-year, $43 million deal.

Rose and Tom Thibodeau Have Synergy

Rose’s second stint with the Knicks immediately paid dividends this past season, with New York leaning heavily on the 32-year-old as it qualified for the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-13 season.

Rose looked right at home playing for these Knicks. A big reason for that, of course, is Tom Thibodeau. The first-year Knicks coach had previously spent five years coaching Rose in Chicago.

“Of course,” Rose said after his Knicks debut this past season in February, per ESPN. “Even though I couldn’t say that at the time, I just wanted to be comfortable. Like I said, I’ve been knowing these guys ever since high school, eighth grade, high school, so coming here, like I said, it’s family. I never really thought about anything else but really getting here and understanding they wanted me to help grow the young guys they’ve already got here.”

Rose spoke of a synergy that he has with Thibodeau.

“I can’t explain it,” Rose said, per ESPN. “We’re an odd couple, but for some reason, we understand the game. And the closest thing I probably can say is we’re students of the game. We watch the game. We try to understand the game more and try to get better if not every day, every week, every month, every couple of months, every year. There’s always room for improvement, and it’s for the betterment of the team. Wherever I go, wherever he goes, we’re always trying to win.”

Rose Is an Ideal Fit for Knicks

For a Knicks team that was more defensive-minded last season, Rose’s 14.9 points per game on 48.7 percent shooting was a much-needed infusion of scoring. New York traded for Rose in February, and the former MVP played a critical role off the bench.

Rose wound up placing third in the Sixth Man of the Year vote.

Though it might be difficult for Rose to match the 18.5 points per game he’s averaged over 646 games in his NBA career, the Knicks are banking on him to replicate the type of production he put forth last season. The Chicago native averaged 2.9 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.1 3-pointers, 0.9 steals and only 1.4 turnovers to go along with his 14.9 points in 26.8 minutes per game.

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