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Derrick Rose signs two-year deal with Memphis Grizzlies

Back to where it all started for Pooh.

Richmond Spiders v Memphis Tigers Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images

The Memphis Grizzlies and unrestricted free agent Derrick Rose have reached an agreement for the veteran point guard to join the franchise on a fully guaranteed two-year contract worth $6.5 million.

According to Ian Begley of SNY first broke the news without sharing any details. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN later added the terms of the contract signed by Rose, confirming the fully-guaranteed pact.

Wojnarowski added that the Grizzlies “want Rose on the floor this season,” and that they see him “as a leader in the locker room.”

That makes sense, honestly, considering the trouble Memphis has found itself into through last season mostly regarding franchise player Ja Morant (suspended multiple times and into next year) and Dillon Brooks (aka Bear Poker).

If you were born this century you might have no recollection of it, but D-Rose holds a special place in the hearts of Memphis fans and is tightly tied to the area after leading the Memphis Tigers to the 2008 NCAA tournament title game during his lone college season there.

A native of Chicago, IL, it’s not that this is a true return home for Rose—who already spent his best years as a high-school baller at Simeon and as a pro in Chi-Town—but having the chance of playing for the Grizzlies, in the same arena as the Tigers did on top of everything, is a coup for him entering his age-35 season and one that he will assuredly enjoy.

Still 34, Pooh’s playing time has been limited of late. Just last season, Rose appeared in only 27 games while spending most of his time on the bench towards the end of the season with the New York Knicks. He was coming off a 26-game year in 2022, and the veteran has not played more than 50 games in a single season since he was a member of the Timberwolves back in 2019.

D-Rose leaves New York after having spent two and a half seasons in the organization from Feb. 2021 when the Knicks completed a trade with the Detroit Pistons till the end of the 2023 postseason. Rose could have stayed in NYC for one more season, but the Knicks declined to pick up the team option attached to the contract they handed him in Aug. 2021, allowing Rose to enter free agency this summer.

Rose also played for the Knicks earlier in his career, joining New York all the way back in June 2016 via trade in the Melo/Porzingis/Noah days. All in all, D-Rose has wrapped up his Knicks tenure by averaging 14.1 PPG, 3.8 APG, 3.1 RPG, and 0.7 SPG through four seasons and 152 games played clad in Knickerbocker threads.

Midway through last season, Marc Stein reported ($) that the Knicks were actively seeking a trade partner for Rose. Fred Katz of the Athletic reported around a week ago that there was still a possibility of Rose returning to the Knicks on a more affordable contract, although that scenario never materialized a few hours into free agency. Steve Popper of Newsday noted that Rose was highly regarded and cherished by the organization, though the Knicks ultimately let him go and sign with Memphis.

Over his 14-season career, Rose holds averages of 17.7 PPG, 5.3 APG, and 3.3 RPG. With Ja Morant out for the first 25 games of next season, Rose will partner freshest Grizzly Marcus Smart in Memphis’ backcourt for the first couple of months of the 2024 campaign before getting back to a secondary role once Morant returns from his suspension.

This one hurt to write, but... Once A Knick, Always A Knick.