Derrick Rose, the former MVP and three-time All-Star, is heading back to Memphis, where he starred as a college player for the Tigers. The veteran point guard has agreed to a two-year, $6.5 million contract with the Grizzlies, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and SNY's Ian Begley.
Rose spent the last three seasons with the New York Knicks, where he reunited with his former coach Tom Thibodeau. However, he fell out of the rotation this past season, as Thibodeau opted to give more minutes to the young guards Immanuel Quickley, Quentin Grimes, and Miles McBride. Rose averaged just 5.6 points and 1.7 assists in 12.5 minutes per game, his lowest numbers since his rookie year.
The Knicks declined his $15.6 million option for the 2023-24 season, making him a free agent. Rose reportedly wanted to play more than he did in New York, and he found an opportunity in Memphis, where the Grizzlies are in need of point guard depth and leadership. Reacting to the Rose transfer, Defensive player of the 2022-23 season and Memphis forward Jaren Jackson Jr. tweeted further hinting about the move, “New Energy.”
Fans in Memphis remember Rose for his time at the University of Memphis, where he led the Tigers to a National Championship appearance. Rose was drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the number one pick in 2008 and became the youngest MVP in league history at 22 years old.
Rose will likely serve as Smart's backup and mentor Morant when he returns from his suspension. Their star point guard Ja Morant is suspended for the first 25 games of the season for conduct detrimental to the league after he was caught flashing a firearm on social media. Rose will now try to prove himself once again in Memphis, where he hopes to end his career on a high note.