Derrick Rose surely had few supporters among Knicks fans and the within the organization, but Phil Jackson was apparently among them.
After once declaring he wanted a max contract, Derrick Rose had to settle for a one-year, $2.1 million deal from the Cleveland Cavaliers in free agency. A further reality check for the former league MVP came when the New York Knicks later signed journeyman Ramon Sessions to replace him, as they try to wash their hands of the mistakes made by Phil Jackson.
Rose actually had a fairly productive season for the Knicks in 2016-17, averaging 18.0 points, 4.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game over 64 games. But he has clear flaws as a defensive player and 3-point shooter (21.7 percent last season), and his once-elite athleticism around the rim is gone.
It’s not at all surprising the Knicks didn’t bring Rose back, particularly with the likely gap between what he initially wanted and ultimately got on the open market. But he reportedly, for a time, had one last supporter left within the Knicks’ organization.
Given that he at least had a prominent voice in the decision to trade for Rose, Jackson’s interest in re-signing him is not a surprise. It would have been essentially doubling-down on a mistake, even with Rose’s surface production last season in mind. But Jackson proved he had no real sense for good roster construction, and providing an environment where players can succeed, during his tenure.
In the end, Rose landed with a very good team in Cleveland. His ultimate role is uncertain right now, and clearly dependent on what happens with a possible Kyrie Irving trade. But playing alongside LeBron James is an enviable position no matter what, and Rose may offer glimpses of his previous form as less of a focal point. Simply being removed from the Knicks’ dysfunction is a good thing too.