Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Knicks’ Derrick Rose Likely to Start in Season Opener Despite Missing Two Weeks for Civil Trial
GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Derrick Rose will likely start for the Knicks in their season-opener at Cleveland on Tuesday despite missing two weeks of the preseason because of his civil trial for gang rape.
Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said Tuesday Rose “probably” would start against LeBron James and the Cavaliers, who will be getting their NBA championship rings on the same night the Indians could play Game 1 of the World Series in Cleveland.
“We’ll have to see how he is, but I would anticipate yes, he probably would,” Hornacek said “If we had no practices or one practice and then we had to play the game then maybe it would be a different story. But we have three days to practice, he was there at training camp, so he has seen our stuff.
“I would probably say at this point if he’s there at all our practices I probably would start him.”
Rose has missed two weeks while at the trial in Los Angeles, where deliberations begin Wednesday. It’s possible — although not likely — that Rose will play in the team’s final two preseason games: Wednesday night in Boston and Thursday against the Nets in Brooklyn. Even if he returns from L.A. in time, he probably won’t play.
“If he’s not at a practice there’s no sense in playing,” Hornacek said. “Maybe if there’s a shootaround that he gets to, but even at that I doubt it. We have three days of practice after that.”
Brandon Jennings has been starting in Rose’s absence.
If Rose doesn’t play Wednesday or Thursday it would mean the Knicks will have gone the entire preseason without their starting five playing together for a single minute. Starting center Joakim Noah missed time with several injuries.
“It’s not ideal but there are some veteran guys who know how to play,” Hornacek said. “Maybe we can find two or three things that really work and we can milk it until we can work on all the things. I think the other guys will lead Derrick along when he gets back. Some of the new things we put in we’ll have to sit down with him and take some extra time of learning it. Teams deal with injuries and stuff all the time so we have to adjust.”
Meantime, Kristaps Porzingis practiced Tuesday after suffering a groin strain in the Knicks’ preseason game Saturday against the Celtics and said he feels fine.
“It’s always better to have the whole team here,” Porzingis said. “We’re going to need some more time. That’s the only thing that’s going to happen. There’s going to be a process. He’s not going to jump in right away and he’s going to be perfect. He’s going to need to learn a little bit and we’re going to need to help him. It’s on us to do it together and to become the team that we want to become.”
KNICKS RE-SIGN EARLY
The Knicks announced they re-signed forward Cleanthony Early, who will play for their D-League team in Westchester. Early was shot in the right leg during an attack in Queens last December, and the Knicks did not initially bring him into training camp this year. The Knicks will likely announce cuts on Friday, Hornacek said, and if rookie Ron Baker out of Wichita State is cut, he and Early will likely be teammates in Westchester. “We played two years together at Wichita State,” Baker told me during training camp at West Point. “At first we thought we both were going to be here [in camp].”
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.