Derrick Rose Opens up About Shrinking Role With Knicks

Derrick Rose, New York Knicks

Getty Derrick Rose of the New York Knicks looks on during the second half against the Indiana Pacers.

Two seasons ago, Derrick Rose was the New York Knicks‘ best player in their 4-1 playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

This season, Rose has barely played, logging in a total of five minutes since the calendar flipped to 2023.

Despite his drastic shift from a Sixth Man role to an end-of-the-bench player, the 34-year-old Rose remained professional, and he’s keeping himself ready for another opportunity.

“I still got a lot left in the tank, so it’s about being patient,” Rose told Andscape’s Marc Spears. “I killed my ego long ago. It’s not about the ego thing anymore. It’s about enjoying where I am at right now because there are a lot of older guys and younger guys that wish they were in my position.”

Rose maintained that he’s fully invested in the Knicks even if he isn’t part of Tom Thibodeau’s rotation.

“Give them everything. Coming in early. Being on time for everything. Keeping my routine, the same after 67 games when I’m not playing but two or three minutes,” Rose told Andscape’s Marc Spears. “Talking to the young guys. Being vocal. I’m fully invested in everything to be here. And if I [wasn’t], I wouldn’t be on the team.

“There aren’t too many 15-year vets just sitting around benches. You have to give some type of value. I’m thankful that they didn’t trade me or buy me out or waive me. I’m happy I have some type of value,” he added.

The Knicks kept Rose not only for his veteran leadership but also because his contract still has value. It can become a salary filler in a potential star trade before or after the May 16 NBA Draft. Rose has a $15.5 million team option which the Knicks can either pick up or waive by June 24 when no trade materializes.

A dozen years removed from making history as the youngest MVP in the NBA, Rose is not yet ready to fade into the sunset.

He still views himself as more than just a veteran in the locker room or a salary filler in a trade.

“I’m still in the mix,” Rose told Andscape’s Marc Spears. “It’s like someone asking you to reflect on yours if you’re still in the game. That’s how I feel. I still feel like I’m giving them my all. I still feel like I’m getting better. It may sound crazy, but it’s true. I still feel like I’m getting better.”

Tom Thibodeau Praises Derrick Rose

Rose received praise from his longtime coach Tom Thibodeau for embracing whatever role he’s been given.

“The guy has been around. He’s been great for us,” Thibodeau said of Rose after playing in the closing minutes of their Game 3 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round. “Particularly, we’re a very young team. And to have a guy like that around, it’s invaluable.

“So even though he’s not playing, he’s had a great impact on all our guys,” Thibodeau added. “So that’s great. The best thing about our fans is they have a great appreciation for that, appreciation for all he’s done throughout his career. And it says a lot about Derrick. Whatever role you ask him to play, he embraces it and wants to be great at it. And he’s always cared about the team the most and winning.”

Thibodeau and Rose go a long way, dating back to Rose’s rookie year and MVP season in Chicago. They reunited in 2018 in Minnesota, where Thibodeau revived Rose’s career, and in New York in 2021.

Derrick Rose Predicted to Sign With Bulls

In April, Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley predicted that the Knicks would decline Rose’s team option and the veteran guard would sign with his hometown Chicago Bulls in the offseason.

The Bulls desperately need a dependable point guard with Lonzo Ball’s uncertain status for the next season. Ball underwent a third surgery on his left knee that “could cost him most — if not all — of the 2023-24 season,” according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Rose spent his first seven seasons in the league with the Bulls, who made him the No. 1 pick in the 2008 NBA draft.

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