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Knicks’ pursuit of Derrick Rose driven by Tom Thibodeau

Knicks’ pursuit of Derrick Rose driven by Tom Thibodeau

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau got his way with signing his former Bulls/Timberwolves player Taj Gibson for big-man depth.

Now let’s see what happens with Pistons backup point guard Derrick Rose, who also was a former Thibodeau soldier in Chicago and Minnesota and played 64 games for the Knicks during the 2016-17 season.

The Knicks, among others, have interest in Rose, an NBA source familiar with the situation confirmed to The Post. According to sources, the Knicks have not had any discussions yet with the Pistons.

Rose is an impending free agent and the Pistons own the worst record in the NBA at 4-13 and are tied to their lottery pick, Killian Hayes, at point guard.

The Post has learned Thibodeau pushed hard to sign Gibson recently for depth. Sources close to Thibodeau believe he would still like to reunite with Rose.

While with Minnesota, Thibodeau tried to pry Rose from the Knicks before the 2017 trade deadline but backed out with hours to go. Thibodeau’s T’wolves later signed Rose as a free agent.

In July, B.J. Armstrong, Rose’s agent, told The Post that Thibodeau and Rose always had a bond — cut from the same cloth.

The Knicks are eyeing a reunion with Derrick Rose.
The Knicks are eye ing a reunion with Derrick Rose.
NBAE via Getty Images

“Every now and then, you find someone who matches your personality,’’ Armstrong said. “Tom and Derrick just hit it off. They’re peas in a pod. They’re basketball junkies. They love the game. They both love to compete. They had a unique understanding amongst themselves.’’

Thibodeau is credited for assisting Rose’s rise to league MVP early in his career and the Chicago native can still score — a Knicks weakness.

The beauty of the Knicks’ situation is they have $18 million in cap space, meaning they can absorb Rose’s contract without even giving up a player.

If this stands as a salary dump, the Pistons probably would want at least one draft pick unless they feel Frank Ntilikina, also a free agent after this season, is a good French connection with Hayes, an American raised in France. Rose is making $7.5 million this season.

The oft-injured Ntilikina is currently out of the Knicks’ rotation.

Is Rose a definite upgrade over starting point guard Elfrid Payton? Not on defense where Payton excels. Neither is anywhere close to being a solid 3-point shooter.

However, Rose, 32, has the strong edge as a penetrator who can finish with the best and also feasts on the fast break. Rose is averaging 14.8 points and 4.6 assists off the bench and shooting 43 percent (33.3 from 3).

The younger Payton, who has received excessive criticism from Knicks fans, has been streaky but still can drive the ball and has a soft touch in the lane. He has put up good numbers starting all 18 games and the Knicks have exceeded expectations at 8-10 entering play Tuesday.

Payton is averaging 12.6 points and 3.9 assists, shooting 43.5 percent — 27.8 from 3. The Knicks have just a 2-8 record when Payton does not notch at least five field goals. When Rose does score at least five field goals, the Pistons’ record is 6-2.

Jeff Van Gundy, Thibodeau’s former boss with whom he is still in touch, told The Post recently the Knicks need to upgrade their offensive talent.

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Erin Clark

Erin is a sports enthusiast who loves indulging in occasional football matches. She is a passionate journalist who flaunts a perfect hold over the English language. She currently caters her skills for the sports and health section of Report Door.

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