Derrick Rose is close to coming back to the Knicks: source

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Stefan Bondy, New York Daily News
·2 min read
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Derrick Rose is close to coming back to the Knicks.

A deal for the former MVP is progressing toward an agreement, according to a source, with the Knicks sending Dennis Smith Jr. and a second-round pick to the Pistons. Still, the source cautioned the deal is not yet complete. Rose, 32, provides the Knicks with a veteran presence and a scoring punch, but also leaves questions about how he fits into the rotation next to starting point guard Elfrid Payton and backup Immanuel Quickley.

Other teams in the mix for Rose included the Clippers, Heat, Bucks, and Nets, according to Yahoo! Sports. But Rose has a strong connection to Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau, who helped develop the explosive guard into the youngest MVP in NBA history. Perhaps not coincidentally, Thibodeau brought up that fact Sunday when asked about his reputation of being hesitant to give minutes to young players.

“Derrick Rose is the youngest MVP in the history of the league,” Thibodeau said. “So I don’t worry about that stuff.”

Thibodeau, according to sources, has been pushing for a more veteran presence on one of the youngest teams in the league. He already brought in a familiar face in Taj Gibson, and now is close to securing Rose.

Both Gibson and Rose played under Thibodeau in Chicago and Minnesota. With the Bulls nearly a decade ago, they were a title contender before Rose tore his ACL and began a long battle with injuries.

“I thought with all my teams in Chicago they gave everything they had,” Thibodeau said before the Knicks hosted the Heat on Sunday. “I thought we had a good shot at winning it if Derrick had been healthy for that entire period. But he wasn’t.”

Smith Jr. was once viewed as a point guard similar to Rose in athleticism and potential, but his Knicks career floundered quickly after being acquired from Dallas in a trade for Kristaps Porzingis. The 23-year-old was out of the Knicks rotation and requested to join the G League bubble.

The Pistons have the league’s worst record and are pivoting to a full rebuild. Rose missed their defeat Saturday to the Lakers for “personal reasons.”

Rose played one season with the Knicks in 2016-17 and produced 18 points per game while the team struggled. He then had meniscus surgery and wasn’t re-signed by Steve Mills, who had usurped Phil Jackson as team president.

Rose played under John Calipari at the University of Memphis. Calipari has close ties to Knicks top executives Leon Rose and William Wesley.