“Derrick loves New York and wants to be there,” Rose’s agent, B.J. Armstrong, told Bleacher Report recently. “We’ve expressed that to them and been very consistent about it. Whether it happens is on them; all we can do is be clear.”
Free agency went another way for Rose, who signed with the Cavaliers, and now Armstrong is singing a different tune.
The Knicks, who kept in contact with Rose until the end, never offered him the veteran’s minimum, according to an NBA source.
“Did we miss something?,” Rose’s agent B.J. Armstrong asked The Post. “Is there something going [on] in New York we didn’t see? We all would agree they are on a different timeline than Derrick — a young team with great young talent there and trying to build something for the future. They’re not on the same timeline as players who are a little older and experienced.
“Derrick chose what he said he’d choose from the beginning. He didn’t deviate,” Armstrong 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.”
“You’re a mentor when you no longer can play,” Armstrong said. “This league you get paid to perform. You don’t get paid to be a mentor.
The Knicks weren’t alone in not offering Rose a contract. Many teams didn’t.
And good for New York. The priority should be No. 8 pick Frank Ntilikina. The idea of veteran mentorship is always overstated – players training other players to take their jobs? – but it would have been an especially bad idea with Rose, who’s struggling to fulfill his personal aspirations.
To be fair to Rose, he also said before free agency that winning was more important than money.
But that was in the midst of a 31-51 season full of Carmelo Anthony trade rumors and Kristaps Porzingis promising play. Rose and Armstrong couldn’t predict the Knicks would pivot into rebuilding? Even Phil Jackson, who was in charge when Armstrong professed Rose’s love for New York, talked about emphasizing the future. (The Knicks’ interesting in re-signing Rose probably left with Jackson.)
It’d be far easier to buy the idea that Rose’s only concern was winning if he didn’t end his free agency deliberating between the Cavs and Lakers.