Derrick Rose seems to have gone to a very dark place.
He went AWOL from the Knicks Monday night for a game against the Pelicans — not contacting the team and not taking their calls because he needed space — but was back at the team’s practice facility on Tuesday. He got a fine from the organization but will suit up Wednesday night against the Sixers.
Rose said he left because of a “family issue” with his mother, but his existential crisis may have gone deeper than that reports Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.
“It was a family issue,” Rose would explain after turning up at work. “It had nothing to do with the team or basketball. That’s the first time I ever felt like that emotionally and I had to be with my family,”
Rose, according to two independent sources who spoke to the Daily News on the condition of anonymity, was such an emotional wreck Monday afternoon that his only solution was to abruptly leave the Knicks to be with his mother and his son.
In fact, Rose’s state of mind was such that for a brief time he talked about walking away from basketball for an extended period of time to clear his mind. That seems hard to believe since Rose is only 28 years old and could land a lucrative free agent contract this summer, something he talked about two years ago.
When things are going wrong, it all feels like it can pile up at once. This is the first time in Rose’s professional career he’s spent the season away from his son and family, which would be a hard adjustment for anyone. Rose has had tension with coach Jeff Hornacek about his role, he’s been benched at the end of recent games, and the Knicks as a whole are struggling. Throw in something happening with his mother and it may have been too much for him. We’re not him, we can’t say what is or is not going on for sure, but it’s pretty clear Rose was in a dark place emotionally for a while.
Does that excuse not making a call to the team when he bolted to go home? That’s a separate question.
Can Rose rebuild his reputation within the organization and league following years of knee injuries and rough seasons in Chicago? This certainly doesn’t help, but it’s all on Rose now.
The only thing that seems for sure is Rose’s goal of earning a long-term, lucrative contract with the Knicks after this one-year deal expires is gone. This appears to be a one-and-done situation now.