HOUSTON — Derrick Rose called it “a blessing” to be with the Knicks and able to play in their preseason opener Tuesday night. But Rose is leaving the team today for his civil sexual assault trial that could keep him out of multiple practices, at the least.
Jury selection began yesterday in Los Angeles and will continue today. Rose said he is flying to L.A. this morning to be “prepped” by his attorneys and is expected in court tomorrow.
Anticipating he would miss some practices, Rose said he discussed it with the front office, coaches and his new teammates so everyone knew what to expect.
“I wouldn’t want them to worry about me because I’ll be able to handle this,” Rose said before the Rockets buried the Knicks, 130-103.
Rose is being sued for $21.5 million by a 30-year-old woman who claims that he and two of his friends raped her in August 2013 while she was intoxicated. Rose, a member of the Bulls at the time, and the two friends say the sex was consensual.
At this point, Rose, who celebrated his 28th birthday Tuesday, doesn’t foresee settling the case. “I haven’t heard any of that yet,” Rose said. “That’s one of the reasons I wanted to take it to court because I didn’t want to settle.
“Like I said before, I felt like I didn’t do anything wrong. If I go up there and tell my side of the story, I think I’ll be all right.”
The judge said he expected the case to wrap up in eight business days, so next Friday, with days off Monday and Wednesday. The Knicks have preseason games Saturday and Monday at the Garden, so Rose conceivably could play in both.
Rose said after the game that he was told he couldn’t talk about the case anymore. “I heard I can’t speak about it, so I can’t talk about it,” Rose said. “No comment.”
Coach Jeff Hornacek said at this point the Knicks wouldn’t ask Rose to fly back and forth.
“He needs to take care of that business and we’ll deal with the team stuff after that,” Hornacek said. “It’s exhibition season still, so we’d rather have him take care of that and come back.”
“We’re just going to go as we see fit. If he’s here, we’ll play him and practice him and get him up to speed. If he has to go back for that then we’ll deal with it then. It’s something that may happen, may not. We’ll adjust when it comes that time.”
Rose is learning a new offense and already called the triangle “complicated.” If he had to miss time, Hornacek said the Knicks would go over anything new with Rose on the white board or with video. But Hornacek added, “I don’t think he’s going to miss that many days of working, putting new things in.”
The oft-injured Rose moved well and finished with 16 points and five assists. Kristaps Porzingis led the Knicks with 22 points, and knocked down 5 of 6 three-pointers. But the Knicks played little defense against the Rockets.
Notes & quotes: As a show of unity, the Knicks and Rockets stood together across the sideline with arms around each other’s shoulders during the national anthem . . . Joakim Noah didn’t play because of a sore left hamstring he said he suffered during practice Saturday in West Point. “I want to play. But at the same time, I just have to be smart,” Noah said. “It’s preseason. I just want to be right when it counts.” Kyle O’Quinn started for Noah . . . Lou Amundson (sore lower back) didn’t make the trip.