This wasn’t necessarily the ending that Derrick Rose deserved.
The Knicks’ point guard was held to just six points in Game 5 and didn’t play in the fourth quarter due to what he described as “knick-knack” injuries, forcing him to watch as his team was eliminated from the playoffs; an unceremonious way to finish things up after he had arguably been his team’s best player in the first round.
Rose averaged 22.8 points per game over the first four games of the series against the Atlanta Hawks, continuing to live up to the reputation of the team’s spark plug that he established after he was acquired from the Detroit Pistons in February.
With his veteran presence, Rose bolstered the backcourt and gave rookie Immanuel Quickley a mentor to help oversee his development in the NBA — all the while, he helped the Knicks defy the odds and nab the No. 4 seed in the East.
“That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to come here because they have a great core,” Rose said. “The guys, their young nucleus with me being my age, who wouldn’t want to come and try to build on top of that?”
But Rose’s future with the Knicks now drifts toward uncertainty with his contract now expired and him heading to free agency.
“That’s not up to me. That’s up to the front office,” Rose said. “They got big plans, who knows if I may be back. I don’t know. I’m going to let my agent and them talk about it. It’s really not up to me at all. I’m going to just leave it like that.”
If it were up to him, though, he would undoubtedly want to continue his second stint with the team.
“I would love to come back,” he said. “Who wouldn’t want to play for the Knicks and be in New York? I would love it, but at the same time, it’s out of my hands and they might have different plans.”
The Knicks’ elimination from the playoffs only magnified the glaring needs of the team — particularly a lethal scorer to provide support for Julius Randle and make the offense more of a legitimate threat. Rose’s hope is that the Knicks’ surprising season will help make the organization that much more appealing
“I think there’s a lot of people in the league who think the same thing [about playing in New York],” Rose said. “But it’s out of the players’ hands, it’s up to the people in the front office.”