Derrick Rose’s legal trial is the last thing the Knicks need


Derrick Rose continues on through his preseason with the Knicks amidst legal trial.

Scott Halleran/Getty Images

He played in an NBA preseason game Tuesday night. Wednesday he flew to Los Angeles to appear in court over a civil suit accusing him of raping an unconscious female.

Ever since his knee injury in 2012, New York Knicks point-guard Derrick Rose’s career has been marred with constant contention. Consistent injury trouble, off and on-court issues with teammates and management alike, and now legal troubles. Rose’s public image has changed quite a bit since winning the MVP in 2011.

I wrote about how his move to the Knicks this past June was a new beginning for the 28 year-old. However, on August 26th, 2016, all of that changed. Jane Doe filed a civil suit against Rose and two of his close friends. The suit claims that on the night of August 26th, 2013, Rose and his two friends drugged Doe at a party, then later that night around 3 a.m. the three of them trespassed into her home and proceeded to gang rape her while she was unconscious.

Rose fields questions form reporters regarding legal trial. - Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Rose fields questions from reporters regarding legal trial. – Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The details are jarring and the depositions from both sides are even more telling of what exactly was going on. Rose had some questionable, to say the least, quotes from his. I won’t get into detail, but all I will say is Rose’s lawyers did a horrible job at preparing him for the types of questions that he will be receiving throughout.

This legal case is the last thing the Knicks need coming into this season. After having a long and storied history of off and on-court issues, the franchise was hoping to come into this season with a renewed mindset. They completely revamped their squad. Bringing in the aforementioned Rose, along with his teammate in Chicago, Joakim Noah. To round out their starting lineup, they also picked up Courtney Lee who played for the Hornets last season. Their bench got some new love after the acquisition of journeyman, Brandon Jennings. The experiment of letting Derek Fisher run the team clearly wasn’t working so Phil Jackson went out and got him a proven coach, Jeff Hornacek as well. Everything was looking to be on the right track for these Knicks throughout the summer. Then in typical Knicks fashion, something happened that would cast a shadow over the squad. Not to say that this is in any way the fault of New York, but it just always seems like the underlying theme of every Knicks team is riddled with controversy.

When news of the suit came out, the Knicks seemed to embrace the controversy and roll with it. They immediately felt like Rose would be exonerated and let off clean.

Phil Jackson after being named president of the New York Knicks. - Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Phil Jackson after being named president of the New York Knicks. – Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

“We’re going to let the process work itself out,” team President Phil Jackson was quoted as saying at a pre-training camp practice in September. “We’re not concerned. We understand it’s a serious subject we’re talking about.”

“Derrick has expressed he’s not concerned about it. He’s aware of it, but it’s not keeping him up at night,” Jackson continued. “We anticipate it will not affect his season, hopefully, training camp or games.”

This whole issue puts Jackson and the franchise in an extremely tough position. On one side, your point guard, your big acquisition, your floor general is being prosecuted in a rape trial. So you obviously need to be weary of this and what the implications might be on him and your team. However, on the other side, you need to be moral here and see this for what it is, a man being accused of rape. They’re caught between showing unrelenting support for their player, while also being somewhat morally objective until verdicts have been assessed. The team is saying all the right things in regards to this, but you can’t help but think about what is being said behind closed doors. Until the trial is carried out, everyone is in a mild state of purgatory.

The acquisition of rose initially was seen as risky and somewhat questionable with the state of the Knicks at the time. Rose has had consistent knee issues for four plus years now. The Knicks were more or less prepared for these criticisms. What they weren’t prepared for is the impending legal trial and the effect it could have on their point guard and team as a whole.

There are some rumblings around the league claiming that Jackson and Knicks GM Steve Mills were both aware of Rose’s legal situation however.

Knicks core players this season. - Associated Press Photos

Knicks core players this season: Anthony (left), Rose, Noah, Kristaps Porzingis. – Associated Press Photos

Apparently they assumed that it would have been taken care of by the time this time of year rolled around. That being said, this is all just conjecture because these two probably won’t ever admit to being aware of this prior to the trade.

The Knicks might have never been a “superteam” this season like some (Derrick Rose) may have thought, and now they may not even be a “decent” team. Which ever way this trial goes for Rose, one thing is certain, it will have a major effect on the type of play he brings to the court, as well as the type of the team the Knicks end up being.

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Follow author: @kahl23



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