Malik Rose: a veteran to keep an eye on
I spent about five hours Thursday at Thunder headquarters. It was farewell day as the NBA squad dispersed, each player going his separate way. Part of their exit was talks with coach Scott Brooks and general manager Sam Presti, a physical and a chat with the media.
The guys came in all day long, and I got to sit in on media chats with Brooks, Nick Collison, Damien Wilkins, Earl Watson, Desmond Mason, Thabo Sefalosha, Jeff Green and Malik Rose. And by far the most interesting person to talk to was Rose.
He’s an old pro, a 13-year NBA veteran, mostly with the San Antonio Spurs. But Rose spent the last three years exiled to the New York Knickerbockers before being freed with a trade to Oklahoma City. And Rose says the move to the Thunder rejuvenated him. He got to play a little bit, for one thing, and he says that the OKC franchise was a breath of fresh air. Rose really wouldn’t pile on the Knicks but he alluded to non-basketball issues that wore on the players. Isiah Thomas and Stephon Marbury come to mind.
Anyway, Rose’s contract has expired, and he’s not likely to be in the Thunder’s, or any other team’s, plan. But don’t write him off too quickly. For one thing, Rose says he would love to stay in Oklahoma City; says it reminds him of San Antonio, where he moved his mother and siblings from Philadelphia, where they all grew up and where Rose went to Drexel University.
Also, Rose and Presti are friends, from their days in San Antonio together, where Presti was in the Spurs’ front office.
Every team needs veteran leadership. Mentors to the young studs who provide the talent but don’t always know the path to success. All season, we’ve thought Mason might be the guy the Thunder re-signs to be the big brother on a team full of guys who still are college-aged. And maybe Mason will re-up with the Thunder.
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