On the heels of Derrick Rose pouring in a season-high 30 points against the Thunder, the New York Post reported that the New York Knicks are yet to discuss a contract extension with the 2011 MVP.
And that's the way it should be. Rose has shown flashes of promise with regard to being the kind of player New York needs. Still, a big plus to his acquisition was the flexibility his expiring contract will present them moving forward. As Rose comes off the books, the Knicks will have an opportunity to regroup and assess their priorities during free agency. If no player entices them enough to garner the kind of money Rose would, they could instead hold off on making a big commitment until the following summer.
"I haven't talked to them about it,'' Rose said of an extension. "It's been more about winning games. We'll see. I'm more concerned with trying to win games, but it's something I'd have to talk about with my family and team.''
Sometimes flexibility is more valuable than signing a player prematurely tends to be. Signing Rose to an extension that would hover around $75 million would tie up the Knicks' money. Is he really the player they want to commit to long term?
At this point, probably not. They'd be smart to continue playing the waiting game. Consistency is key for Rose. This comes down to staying healthy, being explosive and using his ability to attack the basket to create scoring opportunities for those around him. So far, he's been able to do two out of three. The Knicks still need him to run the floor more like a facilitator and realize that he has the potential to get others more involved. Brandon Jennings has done a great job of this off the bench, but it shouldn't be acceptable that he does a better job of distributing than Rose.
It's a long season, both in terms of Rose's health and the Knicks' potential to compete. Currently under .500, the Knicks have a very strong team on paper and are expected to compete at a high level. If they plan on paying Rose the type of money his contract extension demands, he'll have to help them evolve into more of a legitimate playoff contender (i.e, a team that can make some noise once the postseason actually begins).
If Rose isn't playing well enough to elevate his team and justify the means to sign him by season's end, it'll be time to explore other options. The Knicks should be over .500 with him at good health in order for an extension to follow. If they're not ready to make a postseason splash, however, his expiring contract will provide them the freedom to explore other options and potential improvements. As it is, if he's not contributing to a winning environment, chances are his services aren't going to be in such high demand that New York can't afford to look around first.