“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.
Three things we learned on Tuesday: Kyle Korver, rest of Cavs reminded Jazz defense is good
1) Kyle Korver makes Cavaliers debut, but Gordon Hayward, Jazz defense steal spotlight. Here’s the big takeaway from Kyle Korver’s first game as a Cavalier — the Jazz are very good.
Korver will be good for the Cavaliers, too, but he hadn’t even practiced with the team so visions of a lights-out debut were always a fairy tale. He was 1-of-5 in 18 minutes in his debut, going 0-of-2 from three (and 0-of-3 on uncontested looks). He will find a rhythm, and he will sync up with the Cavaliers.
Expect Korver to look a lot better Wednesday night when he and the Cavaliers face the Portland defense — the Utah defense is the best in the NBA this season and the Cavaliers found out first hand. Cleveland had just 12 points in the second quarter and shot 36.5 percent as a team for the game, struggling to score inside and get easy buckets thanks to the defensive presence of Rudy Gobert. Check out the Cavaliers’ shot chart.
Cleveland took a brief third quarter lead when LeBron James just took over the game (he finished with 29 points, although Joe Ingles did a surprisingly good job on him defensively for stretches) and the team went on a 17-0 run. But the Jazz responded with a 16-0 run of their own behind Gordon Hayward, who finished with 28. Utah is a sleepy good team, one of only three teams with a top 10 offense and defense (the Cavs are not one of them, their defense is 14th) and come the playoffs they are going to make some noise. Defense and ball movement will do that. Just ask the Cavaliers.
2) DeMar DeRozan, Raptors remind Celtics who is second best team in East (at least for now). The Eastern Conference has Cleveland alone on the top tier, and so long as LeBron is not in a full body cast they will be the team that comes out of the East to the Finals. For most of the last two seasons, the second tier in the East has belonged to the Toronto Raptors alone, but of late Boston has made a push to climb up to that level.
And for a while Tuesday night, it looked like they would climb right past the Raptors, taking a 16-point third quarter lead thanks to another strong night from Isaiah Thomas (he finished with 27) and Al Horford (14 points and nine rebounds), Then DeMar DeRozan and the Raptors happened. DeRozan was brilliant and had 19 points in the third quarter to spark the comeback, Jonas Valanciunas was big (literally) and finished with 18 points and 23 rebounds, and finally Kyle Lowry added nine of his 24 in the fourth and Toronto came back to secure a 114-106 win at home.
I can’t wait for the second-round playoff matchup between these teams — that is going to be fun.
3) James Harden drops 11th triple-double of season, second straight with 40 points, Rockets win ninth straight. Who is the MVP again? Midway through the season (an we’re almost there) you can finally have an MVP conversation with some depth to it, and the race comes down to this — Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Everyone else in the conversation — Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, etc. — are all a couple of steps back.
Harden has been on a roll of late — he led the Rockets to their ninth-straight win Tuesday night dropping a 40-15-10 line on good Charlotte defense. He is now just the fourth player in NBA history to have back-to-back triple-doubles with at least 40 points (Westbrook, Michael Jordan, and Pete Maravich are the others). Harden is in attack mode, he is seeing the floor, and his MVP case is that he has the numbers and the Rockets on pace to win more than 60 games. It’s a damn good case.
Report: DeMarcus Cousins will sign $207 million “designated player” contract if/when Kings offer
Sorry Celtics/Knicks/Lakers and other fans dreaming of a DeMarcus Cousins trade to their team, it looks like the dysfunctional marriage between him and the Sacramento Kings is going to continue.
Recently it was reported the Kings planned to offer DeMarcus Cousins the new “designated player” max extension this summer — five years, around $207 million (the exact figure will come when we know the cap number).
CSN California has confirmed through a league source that the two sides have tossed around numbers and that barring a late change in direction by either side, Cousins intends to sign a massive, max-money extension, estimated at roughly $207 million during the offseason that will keep the big man in a Kings uniform long-term.
The two-time All-Star center signed a four-year max money deal in September of 2013 that takes him through the 2017-18 season. Under the new CBA, Cousins is in line for the league’s designated player exception, which allows Sacramento to give their franchise cornerstone an additional five-years on top of his current deal, keeping him in a Kings uniform 2022-23 season.
Cousins qualifies for the designated player contract already because he made an All-NBA team the past two seasons. The two sides could not consummate the deal until July 1.
This is exactly why the owners wanted the designated player exception — to allow a small-to-middle market team to hang onto its star player. If the Kings traded Cousins it would mean a complete rebuild, and there’s far from any guarantee they could land a player who would develop to be as good.
Is Cousins frustrated with Kings management? No doubt. And he should be, they’ve had a revolving door of coaches and systems as long as he’s been there. But this new contract gives him more than 35 million reasons to stick around (plus he genuinely does like Sacramento the city). The Kings can offer at least $5 million a season more than any other team (Cousins can get 35 percent of the salary cap, not just 30 percent, plus a guaranteed fifth season). Even accounting for Cousins signing a max-contract fifth year with another team, the Kings offer is going to be more than $35 million more than any other team can offer over the life of the deal.
Cousins isn’t leaving that cash on the table. He is staying put in Sacramento.
Rajon Rondo on reason for his benching with Bulls: “I think it’s bulls***”
Rajon Rondo was back in the rotation for the Bulls Tuesday in Washington, after having spent more than a week glued to the bench following a rough game against the Pacers a couple of weeks back where he was -20 in the first half. With the Bulls offense stumbling, coach Fred Hoiberg decided to take a look at Michael Carter-Williams and other rotations.
Rondo was no fan of the benching. As you might imagine.
Rondo on explanation of benching: "A member of the staff told me I needed to be saved from myself"
Rondo was flat-out awful against the Pacers and deserved to be benched. And him running the offense with the Bulls’ usual starters basically plays their opponents even — you can’t blame Fred Hoiberg for looking for better answers.
What Rondo wants is the ball in his hands a lot and the autonomy to make decisions. Both of those things have been shrinking. More and more the ball has been in Jimmy Butler‘s hands — with good reason, he’s their best player — and Hoiberg is calling more plays.
With Dwyane Wade and Butler on the wing, the Bulls need shooting at the point — that’s not Rondo. So this partnership is ultimately doomed. He will get traded eventually (only $3 million of his salary next season is guaranteed, some team will give the Bulls a pick or something useful for the savings). But for now, it will continue in its awkward way.