The New York Knicks supposedly had interest in bringing back Derrick Rose this offseason, but the veteran point guard was not willing to play the role of mentor on a rebuilding team.
After the Knicks selected French guard Frank Ntilikina with the No. 8 overall pick in the NBA Draft, they wanted to find a veteran player who would be willing to help the 19-year-old along. Rose wanted no part of that, according to his agent B.J. Armstrong.
“You’re a mentor when you no longer can play,” Armstrong told Marc Berman of the New York Post over the weekend. “This league you get paid to perform. You don’t get paid to be a mentor.
“That kid [Ntilikina] was drafted in [the] lottery. He’s got to play. One of the most coveted things in the NBA is experience. The kid needs to play. The new [collective bargaining agreement] is constructed to build through the draft. … Let that kid play and make mistakes and see what you have in four, five years. Maybe the kid turns out to be Steph Curry.”
Rose ended up signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the veteran minimum of $2.1 million. The Knicks seemingly found their mentor when they signed 31-year-old Ramon Sessions on Saturday. As Armstrong notes, Rose was only going to sign with a contender.
“Derrick chose what he said he’d choose from the beginning. He didn’t deviate,” the agent said. “He said he just wanted to win. People didn’t believe it. He’s made a lot of money in his career. Now he just wants to win. The guy averaged 18 points a game in the triangle and we know how the game is played right now.”
Armstrong also added that Rose hopes Kyrie Irving remains with the Cavs and that the 28-year-old is willing to accept a backup role. He was reportedly not interested in doing the same with the Los Angeles Lakers, though he would have been playing behind a rookie.
While there were two other teams that Rose is said to have been more interested in than Cleveland, the Cavs should present a great opportunity for him to play a significant role. If Irving is traded, Rose could be asked to turn back the clock if he can stay healthy.