Derrick Rose returned to the New York Knicks on Tuesday for shootaround, one day after his mysterious disappearance prompted his employer, teammates, and the entire basketball universe to question his safety and whereabouts.
He provided a boost on Wednesday in Philadelphia with a 25-point, four-assist outing as the Knicks lost, 98-97, to the 76ers on a T.J. McConell buzzer beater. One night later, Rose continued his productivity, adding 17 points and four assists as New York topped the Chicago Bulls, 104-89, at Madison Square Garden.
Sure, Rose has been a positive on the court the last two times out, but he’s made it seem as if his personal issues excused him from his commitments to the Knicks.
Watch Derrick Rose’s unedited media availability today at MSG Training Center. pic.twitter.com/ISoHQv8mu6
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) January 10, 2017
“Family over everything,” Rose told reporters before Thursday’s matchup in response to whether or not he could’ve handled Monday’s.
For those unaware, before Monday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans, Rose hopped on a flight to Chicago after shootaround and could not be reached until after the game. Subsequent reports offered various tidbits on what happened to Rose.
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News cited sources who claimed Rose considered leaving basketball for a prolonged stretch. ESPN cited sources that stated Rose was frustrated with head coach Jeff Hornacek for benching him in the fourth quarter in the Knicks’ past two games. Meanwhile, the Knicks issued a statement that Rose was tending to a family matter.
“That’s the first time I ever felt like that emotionally, and I had to be with my family,” Rose said on Tuesday when he returned to the team. “I didn’t want to take any calls at the time. I needed that space to myself and I needed to be around my mom.”
Upon his return, Rose met with and apologized to his teammates, coaches, and ownership. Also, he was hit with a fine worth approximately $200,000 — Marc Berman of the New York Post relayed that Rose’s fine was decided through the Knicks’ policy for a one-game suspension, which is equivalent to 1/110th of a player’s salary (Rose’s salary for 2016-17 is $21 million).
It was almost a decade ago when Stephon Marbury, the prodigy from Coney Island, Brooklyn, who grew up a Knicks fan saw his stock in New York plummeting. Prior to the Knicks matchup against the Phoenix Suns on November 13, 2007, Marbury — much like Rose this week — did not show up for the game. Instead, the troubled point guard flew home to New York while the Knicks stayed behind and suffered a 113-102 loss.
Rose and Marbury, in their respective cases, handled things differently but yielded similar results. For one, Marbury notified the team and then-head coach Isiah Thomas he would not be in uniform and was excused.
“I would never leave my team on my own,” Marbury told the New York Daily News. “I got permission to leave from Isiah. He said I could go home.”
At the time, the two-time All-Star went from projected savior to “most reviled athlete in New York.” However, even Marbury — described as isolated and distant from people — knew better than to leave without as much as a 15-second text message. He returned for the Knicks’ matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers the next day — after receiving a $195,000 fine instead of being suspended, just like Rose — and added 13 points off the bench in an 84-81 loss.
The difference? Marbury was two years older then than Rose is now and he had two additional seasons left on his contract. Rose is in the final year of his current deal and will become a free agent this summer, a severely diminished player from his peak years in Chicago.
Rose, 28, indicated that he hopes his disappearance will not impact the Knicks’ perception of the former MVP or their desire to sign him to a long-term contract.
“I hope one incident didn’t change their minds,” Rose said.
“Who knows? This is a business and if it was to happen I’m still going to play the way I normally know how to play no matter where I’m at.”
According to ESPN’s Ian Begley, Rose will seek a max deal when he hits free agency this summer. That max deal would be worth approximately $150 million over five years. Not only is that a lofty commitment to any one player, it’s accentuated when that player, entering the 2016-17 season, missed 244 out of a possible 410 games since the 2011-12 season.
As the Knicks struggle, having lost nine of their last 11 games, Rose looks more like a trade deadline candidate than a max player.
[Featured Image by Al Bello/Getty Images]