Derrick Rose insisted he hasn’t had any discussions with the Knicks about a buyout, though Kevin Durant’s new team reportedly is monitoring the guard’s availability.
The former NBA MVP was identified as a “primary candidate” to join the Suns if the remainder of his contract is bought out by the Knicks, according to Bleacher Report.
“No, I haven’t talked to anybody about that. I haven’t talked to anyone,” Rose said Saturday, before the Knicks beat the Pelicans 128-106, when asked if he had considered seeking a buyout. “I haven’t even thought about it. I’m locked in to my thing right now. It’s kind of hard to think about something that I’ve never pursued and never talked about with them.”
The fans chanted loudly for Rose late in the blowout, and the 34-year-old checked in to a standing ovation with 2:21 to play, making his first appearance since Dec. 31.
Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau, who previously coached Rose with the Bulls and Timberwolves, has often praised the three-time All-Star for embracing a mentorship role with the team’s young players since his exclusion from the rotation earlier this season.
Rose, who is making $14.5 million this season with a club option for the 2023-24 season worth $15.6 milliona, said he had no dialogue with team president Leon Rose about receiving a chance to play elsewhere ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline or about a buyout after it passed.
“No. Y’all heard something? I’ve just been locked in, doing my recovery. [I] talk to Thibs about the team, talk to Leon about the team, but other than that, I haven’t talked to them about [a buyout],” Rose said. “I think that we’ve been so transparent in the past that if I was thinking about moving, or they was to move me somewhere, they’d give me a heads up.”
“So I wasn’t worried at the trade deadline. Normally guys get a little bit of anxiety and all that type of stuff. But that wasn’t something that I worried about.”
Rose said family considerations — for instance, his son plays for the Gauchos AAU team in Manhattan — would make it difficult for him to leave New York.
“Exactly. He loves it over here. I’d probably have to talk it over with him, even before Thibs,” Rose joked.
All-Star forward Zion Williamson remained sidelined for the Pelicans with a strained right hamstring. He hasn’t played since Jan. 2, and missed the All-Star Game last weekend.
Non-rotation Knicks guard Evan Fournier was available after he missing the game Friday at Washington with a non-COVID illness, but he did not play. Trevor Keels, signed Thursday to a 10-day contract, was assigned to G-League Westchester.