The tumultuous 2016-17 campaign of the New York Knicks has resulted in president Phil Jackson being criticized in recent weeks, and not just by fans of the team. There was the Carmelo Anthony trade rumor from February, Kristaps Porzingis calling out the franchise for its lack of communication, and Derrick Rose famously going missing right before the start of a game.
Jackson openly commented on several Knicks’ players on Friday at his end-of-season conference, and what steps he might take in future weeks to help turn the franchise around. One of which could be bringing back star point guard Derrick Rose, who is set to become a free agent on July 1. There appears to be a mutual interest between Rose and the Knicks on a potential return next season, and Jackson stated yesterday that his exit meeting with Rose went fairly well.
“We had a good conversation with him today,’’ Jackson said, according to the New York Post. “He expressed that he wants to be back. We talked about him going through rehab and work and whatever he has to do. And he’s chosen to go back to Chicago to do that. He’ll also be in L.A., but he also took the time out to say he really he enjoyed playing here even with the losses, which of course surprises us because he’s been on some very successful teams. But he wants to redeem himself as a player, which I like that attitude. I like who Derrick represents as himself. He’s very direct about taking on a big challenge.’’
The Knicks traded for Derrick Rose last June, sending away Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant to acquire him. Phil Jackson understands the team’s need to solidify its point guard position for next season, and mentioned two possible ways to solve the problem.
“Either through the draft or somewhere down the line in free agency,’’ Jackson said. “Derrick has expressed hopes of coming back. We have some options. Derrick is a scoring guard first and foremost, organizing, leading, stuff like that is not particularly his strength. As a scorer, he is unparalleled. As someone told me today, he is still a leading guy in scoring in the paint. That says something that this guy is willing to take it in there and challenge.’’
Jackson must ultimately decide between two directions: Rebuilding, which would require drafting a point guard, or reloading, which would likely mean looking to sign a veteran guard in free agency. Rose could be the veteran guard, should all the necessary dominoes fall.
Derrick Rose averaged 18 points per game this season for the Knicks, his highest mark in over four years. He appeared to regain some of the explosiveness and aggressiveness lost from injury during his Chicago days this year, only before suffering yet another knee injury less than one month before the season concluded.
Rose, 28, originally hoped to use his successful 2016-17 campaign as leverage for a lucrative free-agent contract, but a fourth knee surgery of his nine-year career all but ended those dreams. He’ll likely have to settle for less money in July than he had hoped.
The Knicks held trade talks with more than two teams around the deadline on a deal centered around Rose, but ultimately were unable to complete a transaction.
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