Wolves' Rose signing earns some negative reviews
MINNEAPOLIS—Signing Derrick Rose was never going to be a popular decision.
But Tom Thibodeau, the Timberwolves coach and president of basketball operations, pulled the trigger anyway. On Thursday morning, Minnesota announced the signing of Rose, who will be with the team for the rest of the season.
"We just thought he could help the team," Thibodeau said. "That's what our expectations are. Come in, be a good teammate and try to help us win."
The move sparked a swarm of negative reactions on social media.
Rose doesn't provide much outside shooting, one of Minnesota's biggest needs, he's bound to take playing time away from Apple Valley native Tyus Jones, and many people have questions about Rose's character.
Rose went on trial in civil court for sexual assault back in 2016 and was found not liable via a unanimous verdict. In Cleveland this season, he stepped away from the Cavaliers for nearly two weeks while dealing with a personal issue.
Yet when asked if he felt the need to do due diligence on Rose's recent issues, Thibodeau was steadfast in his support for the veteran point guard.
"I know who Derrick is," Thibodeau said. "I know who he is. I spent a lot of time with him."
Thibodeau coached Rose for five seasons in Chicago, guiding the point guard to an MVP season in 2010-11, their first campaign together.
Thibodeau probably knows Rose as well as anyone in the NBA. He's seen the point guard at his best, and seems confident enough that Rose can help this Timberwolves team down the stretch that he determined the match was worth a try.
It's up to Rose to prove Thibodeau right.
The point guard has been out of the league for a month after he was traded by Cleveland to Utah at the deadline, then waived by the Jazz.
Rose likely could have signed with Minnesota earlier in the week but wanted to wait until after the birth of his daughter, who was born three days ago.
Now that he's here, Rose feels as though he's ready to contribute.
"I've been working out the entire time I've been out, just learning my routine, being a pro," he said. "The only thing I'm missing now is the opportunity. Talking to Thibs, he sounds like he's going to give me the opportunity, so it's all about learning the guys and fitting in at the right time."
Exactly how he'll fit it is up in the air. Rose is the fourth point guard on the Wolves' roster.
Thibodeau said he likes the versatility and mentioned how Minnesota played two point guards last season in Kris Dunn and Jones. Of course, Jones and Jeff Teague have barely played together at all this season, so two-point-guard lineups haven't been the norm.
"I think I can play with anybody, to tell you the truth," Rose said. "I know the game. I'm not a selfish player. I'm not here for stats or anything like that. I just want to win and help this team and franchise win."
Rose said he talked to a few teams after being waived by Utah, but he liked the familiarity that exists in Minnesota. He was teammates with Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler in Chicago, and played his best basketball under Thibodeau. It was also important to Rose to join a contender. He wants to help a team make a run.
Rose knows there are questions about his character. He's hoping to answer them with his actions.
"I'm still here. That shows everybody about my character and all that," he said. "I'm still here playing, I still love the game. I can sit here and tell you all this by expressing it with words; I want to do it with action."
Rose, who said Thursday that he was close to signing with Minnesota last offseason, won't return to his MVP form, but he flashed the ability to still play last year in New York when he averaged 18 points a game. But in a free-agent market void of good options, Rose is a cheap rental who is at least capable of providing a burst.
Some question if Rose has anything left in the tank at this point in his career. If he does, Thibodeau is probably the guy to get it out of him.
"So far he has been the best coach (for me)," Rose said. "I still think I got a lot left. Who knows if he can still spark something up."