Bulls Insider

Tom Thibodeau reunites with Derrick Rose in New York

/ by K.C. Johnson
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
Bulls Insider

Joakim Noah isn't officially retired, you know...

That's a light-hearted reaction to Sunday's news that Tom Thibodeau's New York Knicks acquired Derrick Rose from the Detroit Pistons, reuniting the former Bulls coach and Bulls MVP for their third stint together.

Thibodeau long has valued veterans and players he knows, which is also why Taj Gibson signed with the Knicks after starting the season out of the league. But his relationship with Rose transcends all. It's why he signed Rose off the scrap heap and brought him to the Minnesota Timberwolves in March 2018 after Rose had bounced from his first spell with the Knicks to the Cleveland Cavaliers to getting waived out of the league by the Jazz.

The bond formed not only as Rose, well, rose to great heights to become the youngest most valuable player in NBA history and lead the Bulls to the league's best regular-season record and an Eastern Conference finals berth in 2010-11. It perhaps most fully blossomed when Thibodeau stood by Rose as he worked his way back from tearing his left ACL in 2012. As a growing chorus of doubters questioned Rose's decision to sit out the entire 2012-13 season -- fairly standard practice nowadays with serious injuries like ACL or Achilles tears -- Thibodeau always had Rose's back.

Thibodeau would try to deflect as much negative attention from Rose as he could and always supported him publicly.

Rose revived his career playing for Thibodeau during his time with the Timberwolves. Their latest marriage will be intriguing to watch play out given that the Knicks already have a guard rotation consisting of Elfrid Payton, promising rookie Immanuel Quickley, second-year lottery pick RJ Barrett, Austin Rivers and Alec Burks.


But Rose wouldn't be heading to New York unless he wanted to, given his close association with Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem. Though Rose didn't have a contract that granted him no-trade rights, Tellem, Rose's former agent, always worked to do right by Rose, who also had been recently linked in talks to the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers.

In that instance, Tellem is a lot like Thibodeau, who is adding Rose to help a sagging offense even as the Knicks have surprisingly played their way into the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

By the way, Gibson scored nine points on 4-for-4 shooting with three rebounds and, for good measure, four fouls in the Knicks' Sunday matinee loss to the Miami Heat. Some game soon, Rose will be getting similar opportunity.

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