Derrick Rose remains day-to-day with an ankle sprain after sitting out his fourth straight game in the New York Knicks 111-104 loss to LeBron James and the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night.
The Knicks have now dropped three of the four Rose has missed, as their dimming Eastern Conference playoff chances become more of a long shot.
Still, Rose can be forgiven for being preoccupied with other, even more pressing matters.
With the high-priced Knicks underachieving as a unit in ways not many predicted, Rose is wondering what that all could mean to his bottom-line, not to mention what city he might be left to call home over the next several seasons.
On the final year of a deal he originally signed with his hometown Chicago Bulls, Rose realizes this is now the time to let his play speak for him in terms of having his voice heard on those issues.
“Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. This is my year,” he said prior to tipoff of the nationally televised showdown against James and the champs. “This is when you prove yourself in games like this.”
But in the end, all Rose could do is sit and watch as his Knicks again looked vastly overmatched, particularly with him taken out of the equation.
In a season of major disappointments, Rose has been one of the few bright spots for a veteran team president Phil Jackson largely assembled over the summer offseason with nothing short of a playoff run in mind.
For the most part, Rose has held up his end of the bargain, averaging 18 points, five assists, and four rebounds while shooting 46 percent and ranking third in the league with 8.6 points via drives per game.
But Rose knows if the Knicks come up short in their ultimate quest, that may not be nearly enough to answer all the burning questions about what comes next for the former league MVP.
“I’m on a one-year deal so I can’t talk that much about it,” he said of what direction the Knick, rumored to be leaning toward dealing veteran All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony, might decide to go.
“The rebuild could be me going, too,” he added. “I don’t know. My job is to focus whenever I’m on the court, just try to win games, try to be positive, try to get better. Like I said from the beginning, I’m chasing something. I’m trying to get back to myself and I’m trying to play consistent games.”
Through all the drama, the Knicks still sent within a stone’s throw of a postseason berth, trailing the Detroit Pistons by just 1.5 games for the eighth and final postseason spot in the East.
But the Feb. 23 trade deadline is just around the corner, meaning whatever Jackson and his cronies decide to do they must move quickly.
Perhaps clouding the decision on Rose is his extensive history of injuries, including at least two major knee surgeries that limited him to just a handful of games over two full seasons.
“It’s something that hasn’t been out there,” he said of major talk of him being dealt. “It is a thought, like [I’m on] a one-year deal. It is a business. Just got to wait and see.”
For what it’s worth Rose added he and his agent, B.J. Armstrong, haven’t really talked about the possibility of him being dealt somewhere else, but he knows players in the final year of their deals are often used as bargaining chips, especially when they’ve shown as much as Rose has this year and what otherwise could be a totally lost season.
[Featured Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]