Why banished Knicks guard Derrick Rose prefers to stay despite Suns’ interest

Derrick Rose, New York Knicks
Dec 16, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (4) acknowledges the crowd during the second half against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Derrick Rose is content playing garbage minutes for the surging New York Knicks despite the reported interest of the Phoenix Suns.

Rose, 34, had a cameo during the final 2:21 of the Knicks’ 128-106 rout of the New Orleans Pelicans Saturday night. The former MVP missed all four attempts but seemingly enjoyed the adoration of the Knicks’ home crowd, who chanted his name and egged Tom Thibodeau to put him in when the game was already beyond the Pelicans’ reach.

After his first game since the new calendar flipped, Rose told reporters that a buyout was never discussed after the Knicks kept him past the trade deadline.

“No, I haven’t talked to anybody about that. I haven’t talked to anyone,” Rose said. “I haven’t even thought about it. I’m locked into my thing right now. It’s kind of hard to think about something that I’ve never pursued and never talked about with them.”

Knicks two-time All-Star Julius Randle, who joined the soldout Garden crowd in hyping Rose to see action in the final minutes of the wire-to-wire win, paid tribute to the veteran guard’s impact on him and the team despite the mounting DNPs.

“D Rose, that’s a legend. He’s not playing, but, obviously, he’s still got some juice and he can still play,” Randle said. “But you know that’s not his role on this team, but I would argue that he’s having you just as much if not more of an impact vocally as a leader for us.”

Randle added that Rose is constantly talking to him and giving him advice, so Saturday night’s moment was his gesture of repaying their veteran leader.

“His impact is huge. I love to see him out there on the floor,” Randle said. “For a guy who’s accomplished what he has, he’s the most selfless, non-egotistical person you can meet.”

Rose, the youngest MVP in league history, was yanked out of the rotation in December by Thibodeau, the coach he’s spent most with throughout his career from Chicago to Minnesota and New York.

Thibodeau preferred Rose to stay and continue to serve as the elder statesman of a team, whose oldest player in the rotation is the 28-year-old Randle.

“I’ve just been locked in, doing my recovery. [I] talk to Thibs about the team, talk to Leon about the team, but other than that, I haven’t talked to them about [a buyout],” Rose said. “I think that we’ve been so transparent in the past that if I was thinking about moving, or they was to move me somewhere, they’d give me a heads up.”

“So I wasn’t worried at the trade deadline. Normally guys get a little bit of anxiety and all that type of stuff. But that wasn’t something that I worried about.”

But more than enjoying being the locker room leader of the deepest Knicks team in recent memory, Rose has one more reason far greater than playing time or a championship to stay despite the Suns’ rumored interest in making him their third point guard behind Chris Paul and Cam Payne.

His son, PJ Rose, is a budding star playing for the legendary Gauchos team in New York.

“He loves it over here. I’d probably have to talk it over with him, even before Thibs,” Rose said in jest.

Rose isn’t just content playing garbage minutes but, more so, enjoying his time immersing himself in the father-and-son coaching relationship of the Brunsons — Rick and Jalen — as he prepares for the next phase of his life as a basketball player’s father.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

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