New York Knicks: Derrick Rose explains his mid-season decision to leave

Derrick Rose, New York Knicks. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Derrick Rose, New York Knicks. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

With the New York Knicks for one season, Derrick Rose revealed a candid excerpt of his upcoming book to the New York Post, discussing his time in the Big Apple.

When the New York Knicks acquired Derrick Rose in a 2016 offseason trade, it was not for the same player who won an NBA MVP award with the Chicago Bulls. Knee injuries hampered the 2008 No. 1 overall pick, including missing a full season in 2012-13 and with just 10 games the year afterward.

Rose stayed in New York for one season, but it was as eventful as any player in the orange and blue in the past five years. This featured the infamous, mysterious January 2017 leave of absence that he called a family issue, per the New York Times.

Almost three years later, on that brief departure, Rose said that he just needed to “go home,” according to an excerpt on the New York Post from his and Sam Smith‘s book, I’ll Show You:

"I went to the crib with my mom. Everybody came over to the house to talk. That’s the first time, one of the few times, where we sat down as a whole family and had a serious discussion like that.I had decided I was done playing. I saw the same thing that was happening with the Bulls was going on with New York. I could tell that the season wasn’t going to be the season everyone thought, that I thought. I didn’t know if I wanted to hoop anymore. Especially when it started to feel like a business. Of course, you know it’s a business. They always say that. But you know it’s also hoopin’. But it had started to feel like all business, no joy. That’s when I wanted out. I wasn’t having fun."

Rose said his family had to talk him into playing again.

There were some expectations for the Knicks in 2016-17. Carmelo Anthony, who ended up in his final season in New York, still played; Kristaps Porzingis started his second consecutive season; pieces around them were set to contribute like Courtney Lee and Brandon Jennings. Instead, they went 31-51 and sat nowhere close to the playoff picture.

So, Rose seemingly did not enjoy it, as was the case with the Bulls, playing like a shell of himself after the frequent injuries; he averaged 16.9 points on 41.2 percent shooting and 29.1 percent on three-pointers in the 127 games after the torn ACL.

Rose also said the “court case probably had something to do with it.” In 2016, he was accused of sexual assault, a situation that consumed a few months of his career.

2017-18 was even difficult for Rose, playing just 25 games with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves. He appeared in a full season with the latter team in 2018-19, finding his best numbers since the MVP year, with 18 points on 48.2 percent shooting.

The book excerpt, though, described an unhappy time of Rose’s career, which included comments on Knicks president Steve Mills, and the circumstances around his 2017 offseason departure, when the New York Knicks selected Frank Ntilikina in the 2017 NBA Draft.

"New York could have done the same thing. I would have done that. Me stepping away from the team that day had nothing to do with them; I was good with New York. But they didn’t sign me, didn’t even talk to me. No communication. I thought, “I just gave y’all 18 a game. At the point guard position. And you go draft a point guard?”"

“New York could have done the same thing” referred to other teams keeping a veteran to tutor the young guard, which Rose thought was possible. Jarrett Jack eventually became the team’s point guard depth, with Trey Burke as a mid-year addition.

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Rose and the New York Knicks just did not work out. Situations like that happen in the NBA, but this was amplified at the time, adding controversy to a team full of it with Phil Jackson as president of basketball operations. Only 30 years old, he has another step to take with the Detroit Pistons.