After winning three of their first four contests to start the 2022-23 campaign, the New York Knicks have gone on to drop three of their last four and, as a result, find themselves sporting a lackluster .500 record of 4-4.
And while there are many factors people can point to when it comes to deciphering a reason for the club’s current slide, one player who could be argued as being completely absolved of any blame is veteran point guard, Derrick Rose.
Eight games into the new season, the former league MVP has struggled mightily to come across a consistent amount of playing time on the hardwood, as he’s averaging just 12.8 minutes per contest.
Once viewed as a key fixture within the Knicks’ rotation, Rose has seen his role on the team diminish considerably since returning from the ankle injury that held him out for all but 26 games last year.
His demotion within Tom Thibodeau’s pecking order is so extreme, in fact, that one Eastern Conference executive recently told Heavy Sports’ NBA Insider Sean Deveney that they fear it could lead to his ouster from the franchise.
Rose Someone Knicks Should be ‘Worried’ About
When asked by Deveney what players, if any, could realistically demand a trade out of New York in the near future, the exec mentioned Derrick Rose as a name people should look out for.
“He is 34 and maybe they’re just starting him slow to conserve him but they’re not playing him much. It’s (Jalen) Brunson and Quickley, and Rose is getting 10, 12 minutes a game,” the executive told Deveney.
They would continue by stating that should he be placed on the trade block, many teams could wind up inquiring about his availability, though noted that, considering his salary situation, finding a suitor could prove to be a bit complicated.
“If they put him on the market, he would have a lot of takers, too, though he has a team option for the next year, so you’d have to know what you’re going to do with him going forward,” the executive said. “Maybe they’re trying to keep him fresh for the end of the year, but it is strange that they’re not playing him much.”
Currently in the second year of a three-year, $43.5 million contract, as the executive stated Rose’s 2023-24 campaign is a club option, holding a worth of $15.5 million.
With this, should a team look to deal for him, in all likelihood they’ll be doing so with the hope of vying for a championship within the next two seasons, and the veteran guard could, in theory, be viewed as a valuable commodity to have within their rotation.
Though perhaps not the perennial All-Star and franchise player of old, the 34-year-old still has proven to be an incredibly effective role player during this latter stage of his career and has posted averages of 15.9 points, 4.5 assists, and 2.6 rebounds on 47.8% shooting from the floor and 36.5% shooting from deep since 2018 whilst predominantly coming off the bench.
Toppin Another Knicks Player That Could Ask Out
Along with Rose, the executive also stated that big man Obi Toppin could be another player who could end up requesting a trade from the Knicks, citing his low usage within the rotation as a major reason why.
“I think Obi is the one you worry about because he has done everything a guy like him can do to get more playing time, he has gotten better every year, he deserves to get more of a look on the floor, but as long as they have Julius Randle there, they’re stuck,” the exec told Deveney.
“[Thibodeau] does not play Randle at center at all, so you can’t ever have Obi and Randle out there at the same time. They will have an extension due for Obi next summer and they probably won’t give that to him but, obviously, they need to decide what they’re going to do with him. If they want to package him and move him, they could. A lot of teams like him an awful lot.”
Despite already having proven capable of excelling when serving as a starter (averages 20.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and just shy of a block on 57% shooting from the floor and 43.6% shooting from deep in such a role), so long as Randle remains with the Knicks, the likelihood of Toppin seeing a major increase in his role seems to be rather low.
Because of this, the executive fears that the third-year big could ultimately request a trade out of New York.