OKLAHOMA CITY — Derrick Rose is looking forward to the All-Star break after a tumultuous opening stretch of the season on and off the court for the Knicks.
“Yeah,” Rose said with a laugh, “to get our minds right, to figure out what we’re trying to do.”
The Knicks played their final game before the break Wednesday night against the Thunder in what could have been some players’ last game with the team.
The trade deadline is Feb. 23. Although Jeff Hornacek said he expects to coach the same group when the Knicks play the Cavaliers next Thursday, nothing is guaranteed. Rose, who is on an expiring deal and could draw some interest, knows that.
“This business with this league, you never know,” Rose said. “Who knows? I really don’t know what could happen in the next week, the next day. I just got to wait and see.
“I haven’t talked to [my agent]. I just let it happen. I don’t talk things into existence, put things in the universe that I don’t want to happen. I like being here but you never know what could happen. You never know the future they have for this team or decisions they have to make to try to build a winning team.”
The Knicks don’t believe they’re that far off from being a playoff team. Rose called it “reachable” despite the Knicks being 10 games below .500 heading into Wednesday’s game.
But there are only five East teams above .500 so the Knicks remain within striking distance of a playoff spot. They were only three games out of the eighth seed before the game. Rose thinks management should keep the team together and see if they can make a run after the break.
“I think so,” Rose said. “You never know what could happen in the playoffs. And we have a good chance. I played on a Bulls team where it took us to Game 82 to get to the playoffs and I think we played against Boston that year. You never know what can happen. Things can click and you never know.”
Hornacek agreed. Despite rumors that management could look to start another rebuild at this trade deadline, Hornacek said the Knicks are trying to win this year.
“We do have veteran guys,” Hornacek said. “l believe we can get on a roll. The way the East has been . . . Miami wins 12 or 13 in a row. So our thoughts are, ‘Why can’t we suddenly roll off seven or eight in a row?’ You win seven or eight in a row all of a sudden you climb that ladder pretty fast in the East. That’s what we’re looking at.”
Hornacek said management looks at it like that too.
“They haven’t come to me and said start playing all the young guys,” Hornacek said. “So I think that’s their vision too.”
Carmelo Anthony, who also said he’s looking forward to the break “to decompress and re-evaluate,” Brandon Jennings and Kyle O’Quinn also could receive some interest at the deadline.
Jennings missed Wednesday night’s game because of a sore left Achilles. It’s the same one he ruptured in 2015 when he was with the Pistons that sidelined him for a year. Jennings said he’s not worried.
“No, no concern,” he said. “Just sore from all the grinding, stuff like that.”
As for his own future, Rose said he isn’t concerned.
“I just know that I’m prepared,” he said. “Wherever I go, I think I prepare myself the entire year to play good basketball, no matter where I’m at. I’m just trying to win man, that’s the only thing I’m trying to do. I really don’t care about my stats. As long as I’m on a winning team, that’s the only thing that I care about.”
Hernangomez joins Porzingis. Rookie center Willy Hernangomez was picked to replace injured Denver guard Emmanuel Mudiay on the World Team in the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend. Kristaps Porzingis already was chosen to play in the game Friday.
Hernangomez also started for the second straight game at center Wednesday night for Joakim Noah, who sat for the fifth straight time with a sore left hamstring.
Knicks No. 1. Missing the playoffs three straight years, the Anthony-Phil Jackson discord and the James Dolan-Charles Oakley feud haven’t hurt business. The Knicks are the NBA’s most valuable franchise and worth $3.3 billion, according to Forbes Magazine.