For Derrick Rose, what’s old is new again.
Rose has signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves, reuniting the 2011 NBA MVP with three mainstays from his days in Chicago: coach Tom Thibodeau and teammates Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson. The Timberwolves did not release contract terms, but a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press the deal is for the remainder of the season.
Rose was in uniform for the Wolves on Thursday night against Boston, but he didn’t get in the game.
“The only thing I’m missing now is the opportunity,” Rose told reporters in Minnesota earlier in the day. “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.”
Minnesota will be the fourth team Rose plays for and technically his fourth franchise in the last 11 months. Rose spent his first eight NBA years in Chicago, five of those with Thibodeau as his coach. He was with New York last season and started this season with Cleveland, but he appeared in only 16 games with the Cavaliers largely because of injuries.
“We just thought he could help the team. That’s what our expectations are: come in, be a good teammate, try to help us win,” Thibodeau said after the morning shootaround. “He’s been around. He’s been in a lot of games. I think he’s seen a lot of different things. He’s familiar with what we’re doing. He’s played with some of the guys we have. So that’s a plus.”
The Cavaliers traded the three-time All-Star to Utah last month as part of the massive restructuring of their team, and the Jazz waived him shortly afterward. Rose has been working out and evaluating his options since then, and he became a father again three days before completing the deal with the Timberwolves. They were willing to wait for his new daughter to arrive before asking him to make the move.
“I think I’m familiar with a lot of guys that’s here,” Rose said. “Just staying ready and coming here and trying to make it to the playoffs, and I feel like I can help in some way.”
Miami guard Dwyane Wade, a teammate of Rose’s earlier this season in Cleveland, said he expected Rose and Thibodeau would reunite. He insisted the 29-year-old guard still, when healthy, can play at an elite level.
“He was the best player in training camp,” Wade said, noting that LeBron James was hurt for most of Cavs camp last fall. “It’s always been about health with D-Rose.”
Rose joined a Timberwolves team targeting its first postseason trip since 2004. They’re in sixth place in a tight Western Conference race where four games separate the eight teams from third to 10th.
He said he isn’t worried about his role and that he can fit in alongside fellow Wolves point guards Jeff Teague and Tyus Jones.
“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.”
Rose averaged 9.8 points with the Cavaliers this season. For his career, Rose is averaging 19.2 points and 5.8 assists.
“I think it’s going to be good for us, another guy who can create shots for others,” Teague said after the 117-109 loss to the Celtics. “He’s a dynamic player. We definitely need that.”
Teague spoke eagerly about the possibility of playing next to Jones or Rose at times, considering the trend around the league of small lineups and multiple point guards on the floor. Another one of Minnesota’s veteran guards, Jamal Crawford, extended the welcome, too.
“Anytime you can add a player like that,” Crawford said, “you do it and then you figure out the rest.”
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AP Sports Writer Dave Campbell in Minneapolis contributed to this report.