Derrick Rose has played with five different teams over the course of his 13-year NBA career, but he made it clear after his return to the floor with the Knicks. There was only one team that he really wanted to end up with following his trade request in Detroit UFA.
“I still can’t believe it. It’s family here,” Derrick Rose said following the debut of his second stint with the Knicks. “I got [executive vice president and senior basketball advisor William Wesley] here. I got [Tom Thibodeau] here.”
“And my job is just to come in here and do my job. And understand where I’m at, understand I want to be a mentor to the young guys and help develop them. But at the same time show that I can still hoop a little bit. So that was the goal in my decision to leave Detroit.”
“Even though I couldn’t say that at the time, I just wanted to be comfortable. Like I said, I’ve [known] these guys ever since high school, eighth grade, high school, so coming here, like I said, it’s family. I never really thought about anything else but really getting here and understanding they wanted me to help grow the young guys they’ve already got here.”
Despite not yet practicing with his new team, Rose was able to play 20 minutes in Miami. Scoring 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting while hitting two three-pointers to go along with three assists.
“I’m thinking about the turnovers I had in the fourth quarter coming out to start the quarter. Just the turnovers I had. It sucks but at the same time we’ve got room to grow and I’ve just got to keep reminding myself that it’s the first game. But I know I’m a winner. That’s why it kind of stings losing this game.”
Acquired by the Knicks on Monday in a deal that sent Dennis Smith Jr. and a second-round pick to Detroit, Rose didn’t want to talk much on Tuesday about the way things ended in Detroit, as he hadn’t played a game since Jan. 30 after asking for a trade.
“I worked my butt off. I stayed in shape,” Rose said. That’s one of the things I told Thibs with me coming in, that I was going to be a pro. Even though I wasn’t playing in Detroit, I knew I was still practicing with them and conditioning whenever I got the chance.
“The synergy we’ve got, I can’t explain it,” Rose said of his relationship with Thibodeau. “We’re an odd couple, but for some reason, we understand the game. And the closest thing I probably can say is we’re students of the game. We watch the game.
We try to understand the game more and try to get better if not every day, every week, every month, every couple of months, every year. There’s always room for improvement and it’s for the betterment of the team.