Add Rose to the list of Thibodeau's Timberbulls
Tom Thibodeau's Minnesota squad has been struggling and Derrick Rose was without a team.
So Rose joining the Timberbulls, er Timberwolves, seemed inevitable, but will the matchup benefit either side?
Rose last played in an NBA game on Feb. 7 -- against Minnesota, coincidentally. A day later, Rose was traded from Cleveland to Utah and then released by the Jazz. The former MVP appeared in 16 games with the Cavaliers this season, averaging 9.8 points.
With Rose sitting idle for the past month, some wondered if he would even play again. But Thibodeau stepped forward and signed Rose for the remainder of the season. Rose said he was ready to play on Thursday against Boston, but it wasn't immediately clear if he would.
"The only thing I'm missing now is the opportunity," Rose told reporters in Minnesota on Thursday. "Talking to Thibs, he sounds like he's going to give me the opportunity, so it's all about learning the guys and fitting in at the right time.
"I think I'm familiar with a lot of guys that's here. Just staying ready and coming here and trying to make it to the playoffs and I feel like I can help in some way."
Rose will reunite with former Bulls teammate Taj Gibson right away, but Jimmy Butler will likely be sidelined another month with a knee injury.
Minnesota (38-28) has been slipping in the Western Conference standings and was just 2½ games ahead of ninth-place Denver heading into Thursday's action. The Timberwolves just had five days off and are 2-2 without Butler, but are only 7-10 since Jan. 24.
One scenario to be resolved is Rose becomes Minnesota's third point guard, joining Jeff Teague and Tyus Jones. Will he play with one of those guys or get his own turn at point?
"We just thought he could help the team," Thibodeau said. "That's what our expectations are. Come in, be a good teammate and try to help us win. I know who Derrick is. I spent a lot of time with him."
That last line is an understatement. Rose was in his third NBA season when the Bulls hired Thibodeau as coach and the result was Rose became the league's youngest MVP winner, Thibodeau was coach of the year and the Bulls finished with the NBA's best record.
A knee injury at the start of the 2012 playoffs was the beginning of the end for Rose in Chicago. Despite leading the Bulls to the second round of the playoffs in 2015, Rose has never been the same player.
"I think I can play with anybody, to tell you the truth," Rose said. "I know the game. I'm not a selfish player. I'm not here for stats or anything like that. I just want to win and help this team and franchise win."