Derrick Rose has no regrets about going AWOL from the Knicks
NEW YORK – Derrick Rose was still haunting his old team.
Facing the Bulls for the second time since an offseason trade, Rose scored 17 points, helping the Knicks to the 104-89 win at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.
Unfortunately for Rose, he’s also haunting his current team.
The one-time Simeon graduate was just four days removed from going AWOL prior to New York’s Monday night game with New Orleans, flying back to Chicago because of “a family issue,’’ but doing so without notifying the team or asking permission.
Rose was eventually tracked down, but not before Knicks officials sent a staff member over to his New York apartment to make sure he wasn’t in serious trouble.
Rose returned the next day, apologized to his coaches and teammates, took the undisclosed fine, and was right back in the starting lineup for the slumping Knicks, but according to New York reports, could have done obvious harm in any chance he had in re-signing with New York entering free agency this summer.
In Rose’s world, however, obvious tends to elude him.
“When I was in the room, I felt like they understood where I was coming from,’’ Rose said, when asked if he might have burnt his New York bridge for an extension. “I hope one incident didn’t change their mind. Who knows? This is a business. If it was to happen, I still would want to play the way I normally know how to play wherever I’m at.’’
Rose also said he didn’t regret what he did and wouldn’t change a thing.
“Family over everything,’’ Rose said.
Maybe so, but his timing to put family over even a phone call to his bosses couldn’t have been worse. Especially with Rose reportedly seeking a max contract this offseason, which would pay him close to $150 million over five years.
Rose, however, didn’t feel like he damaged his standing around the league, either.
“Like who?’’ he replied, when asked if that was a concern. “With me missing one day and just leaving? You probably have to ask them.’’
One thing Rose did clear up? He basically stopped dunking with the Bulls, even when his surgically-repaired knees were better, and was now once again playing above the rim with New York. The explanation?
“When you’re in here, the fans, the excitement in the building, it makes you feel young again,’’ Rose said.
So there’s that.
Playing the Bulls (19-21) obviously has that effect on him as well, with Rose scoring 15 in the first meeting, and then what he did in the rematch. Although, there was much less resistance Thursday, with the Bulls without Jimmy Butler, Nikola Mirotic and Denzel Valentine because of flu-like symptoms running through the team.
That meant starting seldom-used rookie Paul Zipser, who finished with seven points.
“He looked me right in the eye and said, ‘I’ll be ready, Coach,’ ‘’ Fred Hoiberg said of giving the news to Zipser.
But Zipser’s “Rudy’’ moment was secondary, as the Bulls found themselves still talking about their former face of the franchise.
“A lot of people misunderstand [Rose] because he’s one of the best, one of the greatest dude’s I’ve ever been around,’’ former teammate and current Bull Taj Gibson said of Rose. “Just off the court, personally, on the court, he’s a great guy. Never been negative. He’s never been a ‘hater.’ He’s just been an awesome dude, for real.
“I just feel that Derrick has grown into his own. He doesn’t really care what people think anymore. He’s coming at you real and telling you how he feels because that kid’s been through a lot.’’