On February 10, 2018, Derrick Rose was waived by the Utah Jazz after being traded by the Cleveland Cavaliers. The former Chicago Bulls superstar only played 16 games with the Cavaliers in 2017-18 due to an ankle injury he suffered in the second game of the season after getting taken out of the air by Greg Monroe. He left the team for a couple of weeks to evaluate his NBA future, came back, and played in nine games before getting traded to the Jazz.
Utah had no interest in keeping Rose since he was putrid with Cleveland and looked like he no longer could play in the NBA. The Chicago native, who became the youngest MVP in league history in 2011 with his hometown Bulls, has undergone four knee surgeries since winning MVP.
After getting waived by the Jazz, a video of Rose shooting in a high school gym went viral. The NBA community felt bad for the 2008-09 Rookie of the Year since he was out of a job. However, those feelings went away quickly.
Timberwolves signed Derrick Rose on March 8, 2018
Rose appeared in nine games for the Timberwolves to close out the 2017-18 season. He averaged 5.8 points and 1.2 assists in 12.4 minutes per game. His numbers weren’t that impressive, but things changed in the 2018 playoffs.
Although the Timberwolves lost to the Houston Rockets in the first round of the 2018 playoffs in five games, Rose played well. He averaged 14.2 points and 2.6 assists and shot 50.9% overall and 70.0% from beyond the arc. His sound play earned him a second contract with the Timberwolves on July 4, 2018.
The 2018-19 season was a memorable one for Rose. Not only did he rejuvenate his career and establish himself as one of the best bench players in the NBA, but he also got revenge against the Jazz for cutting him.
Derrick Rose scored a career-high 50 points against Utah
October 31, 2018, is a date Rose and his family will certainly never forget. Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague were out for the Timberwolves, so Rose started against the Jazz and had the best game of his career on Halloween.
In 40 minutes of action, Rose scored a career-high 50 points. He shot 19-of-31 from the field, 4-of-7 from beyond the arc, and 8-of-11 from the free-throw line. The three-time All-Star also recorded six assists and the game-winning block on Dante Exum.
The Timberwolves beat the Jazz by a final score of 128-125, and Rose was very emotional during his postgame interview since he knew how much work he put into his comeback.
“I worked my a** off, bro,” an emotional Rose said. “I wouldn’t have did this if it weren’t for the franchise, the organization, the fans, everybody. I wouldn’t be able to play the way that I play, man. I’m doing anything just to win, man. I play my heart out. My teammates told me before the game, just play my game, and tonight was a helluva night.”
Players across the NBA took to social media to react to Rose’s special game, including the one and only LeBron James.
LeBron James on Windy City Assassin’s 50-point game
LeBron and Rose were teammates briefly in Cleveland in 2017-18. They were rivals when the latter was a star on the Bulls, and the former played for the Miami Heat and Cavaliers. LeBron, who signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018, talked about Rose’s 50-point night from Staples Center after hearing about it.
“No matter what anybody else was talking about — the majority is always people who never stepped into the arena had so many things to say bad about him and what he should do — for him to set a career-high in a win in Minnesota, I think is unbelievable. You don’t have to play sports. Any kid who is going through anything in life about adversity and trying to just get over the hump, you can look at that performance by Derrick Rose. That’s why our game is so unbelievable. Even when a superhero is knocked down, he’s still a superhero at the end of the day. Derrick Rose showed why he’s still a superhero.”
Rose averaged 18.0 points and 4.3 assists for the Timberwolves in 2018-19 and 18.1 points and 5.6 assists for the Detroit Pistons in 2019-20. He’s back with the New York Knicks after the Knickerbockers acquired him from Detroit on February 8, 2021.
Rose has fully completed his career renaissance, and he may have the Jazz to thank for his rebirth.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference