Derrick Rose believes he’s not far from being an MVP-type player again, is excited to team with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis and wants to bring former Bulls teammate Joakim Noah to the Knicks.
More than anything, Rose wants to return to the playoffs after missing out last season.
“That [stuff] hurt,” Rose said during his introductory news conference Friday at Madison Square Garden. “It hurt, watching all these games being played and you’re not even touching the playoffs. I got to make the playoffs next year.”
Rose made a strong first impression as he said all the right things for a franchise desperately in need of a change of fortune. The Knicks haven’t made the playoffs for three straight seasons, but their chances of returning to the postseason will improve dramatically if Rose can stay healthy and management can put the right pieces around the former MVP, Anthony and Porzingis.
“I just want to win, man,” Rose said. “That’s the only thing I want to do.”
Rose, 27, was with Noah in New York on Thursday night and said he wants the Manhattan native to join him on his new journey.
The Knicks are expected to pursue Noah when free agency begins next week. Rose, who didn’t recruit free agents in Chicago, said he “may change it this year” and help the Knicks get players.
“I want him,” Rose said. “He knows that. I think his family knows that. I think everybody knows that. Even [Thursday] night, I was talking to him about it. He’s got to figure out what he wants to do, so I can’t get mad with the decision he will make soon or whenever he makes it. But he knows that I want to play with him.”
Rose, who is from Chicago, said it still hasn’t sunk in that he’s been traded. He said it’s hard to leave Chicago and his son, but he’s excited for the new opportunity.
On the marquee outside of the Garden, Rose was pictured in his new No. 25 jersey with the words “Welcome Derrick Rose.” The Knicks landed Rose on Wednesday, along with Justin Holiday and a 2017 second-round pick, for Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant.
The No. 1 overall pick in 2008, Rose has career averages of 19.7 points and 6.2 assists. But he’s a risky pickup because of his injury history.
Rose has missed 244 games in the past five seasons after tearing an ACL and undergoing surgeries on both knees. But he’s in the final year of his contract, is coming in with some extra fire in his belly and hopes to build a second home here.
“I hope I’ll be able to play the rest of my career here,” Rose said. “We have to see how this one year goes. But I’m putting my all into this. I’ve been working my butt off.”
Rose has been working out in Los Angeles, trying “to prep myself to become great.” He says he feels strong and believes he can return to that elite level again.
“I feel like I’m close,” Rose said. “But me sitting up here and saying that, that’s not going to do anything. Next year, I’m going to let my game speak for itself. I’ve been preparing myself.
“I feel like something special is going to happen. I really don’t know when. But I feel like something special is going to happen with all the hard work I did.”
When Anthony went to Chicago on a recruiting visit two summers ago, Rose said he envisioned what it would be like to play with him. He never thought it would be with the Knicks, though.
“It’s funny how things work itself out,” Rose said. “I’m just happy to be here. I’m happy to be playing alongside of someone that I believe is a dog, just like how I am, and wants to win and is willing to do whatever it takes to win. So I’m grateful, I’m appreciative and I can’t wait.”
Rose was just as complimentary about Porzingis and believes the Knicks should be appealing to free agents with their newly formed Big Three.
“It was hard playing against him last year because he’s so good,” Rose said. “That’s somebody I would die to play with, and now I got two of those guys and whoever the front office puts around us.
“I think it’s enticing, but to tell you the truth, what I’ve been feeling is whoever is willing to come here and willing to do whatever it takes to win, that’s what we’re rolling with. The sense is we don’t have any time to waste. It’s now. And everybody’s got to be on board.’’