The idea that Derrick Rose would be bought out by the Knicks and then would sign with the Phoenix Suns and play with Kevin Durant in the postseason gained some currency over the weekend.
But it would have had to happen by Tuesday and it didn’t. So Rose will be with the Knicks for the rest of the season, even if he doesn’t play another minute.
Rose hadn’t seen the court since Dec. 31 when he played the final 2:12 of the Knicks’ blowout win over New Orleans on Saturday. Coach Tom Thibodeau put in the former NBA MVP to the delight of Knicks’ fans who were chanting Rose’s name at the end of the fourth quarter.
Thibodeau is delighted to have Rose on the roster, even if it would take a slew of injuries for the 34-year-old to get back into the rotation. Rose’s value to the Knicks will have to come off the court.
“He contributes in a big-time way to our team,” Thibodeau said before the Knicks hosted the Nets on Tuesday night. “We know how important he is to the team and that's the value of being a true team: whatever your role is, embrace your role, star in your role, and help in any way that you can.
“And Derrick, whether he was the MVP of the league, whether he was a starter coming back off the injury, coming off the bench, or not in the rotation, he's always a very positive guy. He's been through a lot. And that's when we talk about [being] mentally tough, going through adversity. He's gone through it all. And he is always lifting people up.
“So a big part of leadership — it's important to be truthful. I think that's how you build trust with each other. But it's also important to lift people up and I think that's what he does. He's not worried about himself. He always puts the team first. He's been a great veteran voice for all our young guys. For all our players, for that matter, not just the young guys.”
Rose, who is making $14.5 million this season with a team option for $15.6 million next season, has appeared in 27 games. He is averaging 5.6 points in 12.5 minutes.
Rose is not the only veteran guard out of the rotation. Evan Fournier hardly ever plays, and Thibodeau praised the former starter as well for his positive outlook from the pine.
It helps that the Knicks had a six-game winning streak going into Tuesday.
“The most important thing to count is how you're playing — is the winning,” Thibodeau said. “Put the team first. To be successful as a team, we're asking everyone to sacrifice, and sometimes you have to sacrifice what you might think is best for yourself for what is best for the team. And that's what I love about what Derrick’s done. And I'll say the same for Evan. That's not easy, but whatever way you can help if you're not on the court — help in any way. Encourage your teammates, things you see point out, and it’s important.”
Coach Jacque Vaughn has removed Patty Mills from the rotation as the Nets try to retool with their new-look roster. Vaughn said it’s not an easy conversation to have with a popular veteran.
“Just always lean into honesty,” Vaughn said. “I think you can look a man in the eye by being upfront and honest with him. I have no hidden agenda or motive to not play Patty Mills. We have a deep roster. I think he knows my heart is genuine and my conversations with him are genuine.”