Derrick Rose joined the Cleveland Cavaliers last week, and pretty much everyone agreed that both he and the Knicks were better off having parted ways. But this is still New York, dammit, and in the Big Apple when Concrete Dreams Are Made in the Jungle, no story every truly dies.
Marc Berman of the Post laid out the inside scoop on the Rose-Knicks breakup, and the story is surprisingly uplifting if only for the fact that it confirms that the Steve Mills regime never even offered Rose a one-year, veteran-minimum deal. Nothing. Nada. They believed that Ramon Sessions was a better fit to mentor rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina, as well as building a relationship with franchise big man Kristaps Porzingis.
The whole “Rose aced the exit interview” deal truly did vanish from MSG along with departed president Phil Jackson.
Knicks had interest in re-signing Derrick Rose when Phil Jackson was president. When Jackson was fired, that interest waned significantly.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) July 31, 2017
Eager to save face, Rose’s agent, BJ Armstrong, tried to spin this off as Rose rejecting the Knicks because of their newfound commitment to rebuilding:
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out Derrick’s best basketball is right now,” Armstrong said. “The Knicks aren’t ready to compete at that level right now. It could be three, four years.”
Some will claim this as a shot at the Knicks—”could be three, four years”—but I prefer to see it as one agent’s delusion that Rose’s best basketball is right now, as opposed to five years ago.
Oh, and leave it to Berman to accidentally toss in another classic line about Ntilikina’s Gallic heritage—nothing will ever top “the French word for ‘triangle’ is ‘triangle,’” but this one has its own charm:
“Rose crossed the Knicks off his list after point-guard-of-the-future Ntilikina was drafted and almost all of their cap space was spent on Tim Hardaway Jr. — making a clear commitment to rebuild.
Rose doesn’t speak French and wanted no part of mentoring.” (emphasis mine)
Frank Ntilikina, as we all know, speaks fluent English. Hell, if Rose and Ntilikina were each given the same English aptitude test, who would you really trust to earn the higher score?
Best of luck in Cleveland, Derrick Rose...or, as they say in French, “Bonne chance à Cleveland.”