On one hand, the Minnesota Timberwolves just added a former MVP.
On the other, it’s Derrick Rose, the embattled point guard who has been without an NBA job since being traded by the Cleveland Cavaliers and subsequently waived by the Utah Jazz a month ago.
Free agent guard Derrick Rose is signing with Minnesota for the rest of the season, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 8, 2018
Reports of Rose’s interest in Minnesota began immediately after his release — and really even before he signed with the Cavs — because of his ties to Wolves coach Tim Thibodeau, who steered Rose’s rise to superstardom when the pair led the Chicago Bulls to consecutive No. 1 seeds earlier this decade.
Rose’s devolving career has been well-documented since then, as a torn ACL in the opening game of the 2012 playoffs spurred a series of career-threatening knee injuries in the years since. Once a max-salaried three-time All-Star, he signed for the veteran minimum in Cleveland for a chance to prove himself once again before his 30th birthday. That experiment did not go as planned for either party.
Rose’s fall from grace included a disturbing 2016 civil rape trial that ultimately resulted in an acquittal, if not the stain of the sordid details, and he has reportedly twice considered retirement due to his reoccurring injuries, taking sabbaticals from the Knicks and Cavaliers in each of the past two seasons.
Still, Rose will continue get fourth and fifth chances because of the explosive talent he exhibited early in his career and the flashes he’s shown in recent years. He averaged 9.8 points (on 44 percent shooting from the field and 25 percent shooting from 3-point range), 1.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 19.3 minutes over 16 appearances for the Cavs, mostly off the bench. This after he posted similarly inefficient per-36-minute numbers over his final two years in Chicago and lone season in New York.
But the Timberwolves are shallow on depth, and the hope is that Thibodeau’s history with Rose can tap into something other coaches have not been able to since. After losing All-Star wing — and Rose’s former Bulls teammate — Jimmy Butler to a knee injury that is expected to keep him out at least until the end of the month, the Timberwolves are reeling, and this is their version of a Hail Mary pass.
He’ll slot in behind starting point guard Jeff Teague and maybe even 21-year-old backup Tyus Jones, who has shown his own flashes this season. And Rose’s defense will do nothing to shore up a backcourt bench unit that includes 37-year-old Jamal Crawford and 33-year-old Aaron Brooks.
But he won’t cost Minnesota much — just a pro-rated minimum deal through the end of the season — and there’s always the glimmer of hope that somehow, someway, Derrick Rose gets his groove back.
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