The New York Knicks‘ current streak of four straight wins — and nine in their last 13 games — should restore at least some level of confidence in the team’s future. At this point, a play-in spot is unlikely, as New York is still 4.5 games behind tenth-place Atlanta. But what’s happening is nonetheless something that can be built upon moving forward.
At the same time, one can’t help but wonder where the Knicks might be right now if Derrick Rose had been able to return after the All-Star Break as originally expected. Or, if he hadn’t been injured at all.
In any case, despite the fact that there are only six games left on the Knicks’ schedule, hope has remained that fans could see the former NBA MVP on the floor once again.
Unfortunately, those hopes may have just been dashed.
Berman: Rose Likely Done for the Season
In his latest update for the New York Post, Knicks insider Marc Berman indicated that we may have seen the last of Rose this season. It’s a report that makes sense given comments made recently by head coach Tom Thibodeau about the baller’s progress after undergoing two ankle surgeries.
“I don’t know,” Thibodeau said about the possibility of a return, via The Post. “I don’t know — he’s been out a long time.”
At this point, with nothing really left to play for, the moment has probably come for the youngsters to start doing the heavy lifting. That’s especially the case at the point guard spot where Kemba Walker is on the outs, Alec Burks is out of position and players like Deuce McBride and Immanuel Quickley could be building-block guys.
Also: the physical risk may outweigh whatever reward there is for Rose playing.
“The main thing is we want him to go step by step,” Thibodeau added. “He hasn’t taken contact on. He’s ramped up his conditioning but hasn’t taken contact on. That’s a big thing.”
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Rose’s Future With the Knicks Is Uncertain
There’s no questioning what Rose’s presence meant to the Knicks last season when they made a late-season push to get into the playoffs with a top-four seed. Along that same vein, the veteran’s absence in 2021-22 has been a real killer for the club.
However, there’s a real rationale for shopping him this summer.
Rose will make $14.5 million next season, but the Knicks own the option on 2023-24 at $15.6 million. And while the guard’s production in ’20-21 warranted the payday, the fact remains that he’ll be 35 during the option year.
Moreover, his production when healthy this season — while still relatively strong — had already dipped some. His age and that regression, combined with concerns about his health, may make Rose more valuable as an expiring contract in a trade.
One thing is for certain: overpaying for mid-level vets has been a major factor in the Knicks’ downturn this season. As such, Leon Rose and his brain trust may be wise to get something out of the point guard while they still can, lest he become part of that problem.