One year you go AWOL from the lowly Knicks, the next you could be teaming up with LeBron James for a crack at the NBA title.
Derrick Rose might be about to make such a huge leap in the standings as a free agent following one turbulent season in New York. The former league MVP reportedly is in “serious talks” with the Cleveland Cavaliers on a one-year contract, according to ESPN.
The oft-injured Rose, who was acquired by now former Knicks president Phil Jackson in a blockbuster trade from Chicago last summer, averaged 18.0 points and 4.4 assists in 64 appearances last season before undergoing surgery in April to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.
The 28-year-old point guard also was embroiled in controversy when he failed to show up for the team’s Jan. 9 home game against New Orleans without informing the team of his absence, which he later said was to attend to a family matter in Chicago. Rose flew back to New York and returned to practice the following day, and after apologizing to Jackson, coach Jeff Hornacek and his teammates, he was not suspended for missing the game.
During training camp, Rose also missed extended time to attend a civil trial in Los Angeles to fight a woman’s rape accusation against him and two friends, a charge a jury found was not credible.
The Daily News reported earlier this month that a reunion between the Knicks and Rose appeared to be a long shot, according to sources, but the team continues to look for a replacement. They re-signed rookie point guard Ron Baker to a two-year deal worth $8.9 million earlier this month after also drafting 18-year-old Frank Ntilikina out of France with the eighth overall pick in this year’s draft.
Rose, who reportedly also has garnered interest from Milwaukee and Dallas this summer, would be the latest former Knick to team up with James in Cleveland. J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert have been to three straight NBA Finals – including winning the 2016 NBA title – as part of LeBron’s supporting cast after being dealt away by Jackson in a salary dump in 2015.