GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Derrick Rose apparently isn’t worried about a potential rape trial, and neither are the New York Knicks.
President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson said Friday that the Knicks don’t expect Rose’s season to be affected, but won’t say if he might miss any games because of the trial that would begin in California exactly three weeks before the official Oct. 25 opener.
“We’re just going to let the process work itself out,” Jackson said during a news conference at the team’s practice facility.
“We’re not concerned. We understand this is a serious subject we’re talking about, but this has to be done outside of our control. It’s something we can’t control,” Jackson said. “So Derrick has expressed that he’s not concerned about it. I mean he’s quite aware of it, but it’s not keeping him up at night, so we’ll leave it at that.”
A woman sued Rose last year, claiming the former MVP and two of his friends raped her in August 2013 while she was incapacitated after a night of drinking. Rose and the others deny her claims and contend they had consensual sex with her that night.
Rose would not be required to attend the civil trial that is scheduled to begin Oct. 4, early in the NBA preseason. However, it’s expected he would be there for at least portions of it.
“We anticipate that it will not affect his season, hopefully, training camp or games, but we’re going to let the due process of the justice system work its way through in the next week and a half or so,” Jackson said.
The Knicks acquired Rose from the Chicago Bulls on the eve of the NBA draft in June. The point guard was the NBA MVP in 2011 but has battled injuries since, not appearing in more than 66 games in any season.
But coach Jeff Hornacek said Rose is healthy and has looked quick in workouts.
“The one thing he’s excited about going into this season playing-wise is that he feels he’s been able to do a lot of things this summer to get himself ready for it,” Hornacek said, mentioning yoga. “He’s feeling that his body is good. Watching him play in some of the pickup games that they’ve been playing, you see those spurts of quickness that he has.”
Rose was the biggest — and likely riskiest — move Jackson made this summer in trying to improve a team that went 32-50 last season and hasn’t made the playoffs since Jackson was hired in March 2014. His injuries, mostly to his knees, have robbed him of some of the explosiveness that made him one of the league’s most dynamic players.
His new backup, Brandon Jennings, missed nearly a full year after an Achilles injury before returning last December. New center Joakim Noah, Rose’s former teammate with the Bulls, managed just 4.3 points per game in 29 appearances last season because of a shoulder injury.
But Jackson said the Knicks needed to take the risks, and general manager Steve Mills said no players will face any minute restrictions when training camp opens Tuesday.
“We see this as a team that has the potential of really being a good basketball club. The only thing that’s going to compete with them being successful or not successful is the injury factor,” Jackson said. “The rest of it is pretty much, they’re going to be there.”
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