Derrick Rose fined by Knicks for missing game vs. Pelicans

Last night, the Knicks hosted the New Orleans Pelicans with hopes of reversing a recent funk in which New York had lost seven of its last eight games. Not only did the Knicks fall last night to the Pelicans, 110-96, but they did so without starting point guard Derrick Rose.

Rose was absent from the team for the game for reasons that were unclear, and the team responded today by fining him for his actions.

Derrick Rose has returned to practice today, though, and the team announced he had been fined for missing the game and said he was expected to be in uniform Wednesday night in Philadelphia.

After practice, Rose said he missed the game because of a “family issue”.


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UPDATE, 12:44 p.m. ET

Rose was at the Knicks’ practice facility today & there for practice as well

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Overnight, ESPN.com reported that Rose missed the game to tend to a family issue in Chicago, and that Rose eventually got in touch with team officials about his absence:

Knicks point guard Derrick Rose went missing from the team Monday without permission but later reached team officials, telling them he had a family situation and had returned to his hometown of Chicago, sources told ESPN.

Rose missed Monday night’s loss to the Pelicans, and the Knicks had grown concerned enough earlier to check on him at his apartment, sources said.

Publicly, the reasons remained a mystery after the game, with coach Jeff Hornacek saying “everything will become clear later on” and teammate Joakim Noah saying Rose was OK.

“I mean, I don’t really want to talk too much about it because I don’t really know what the situation is,” said Noah, who has played with Rose since 2008 as his teammate in Chicago before coming to New York along with Rose prior to this season. “Obviously Derrick is one of our better players. And when he is not here it is tough. But I am just happy that everything is OK with him.”

When asked if Rose’s health is OK in light of his absence, Noah replied, “Yeah. He’s OK … I think it’s a relief for all of us.”

Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis and guard Courtney Lee said they had last seen Rose at the morning shootaround and were worried about their teammate when he wasn’t at Madison Square Garden. Lee said he was “praying that everything is all right” with Rose.

“We don’t know what’s going on. Hopefully he and his family are good, too,” Porzingis said.

The Knicks had released a statement shortly before tipoff saying Rose was not with the team and provided no further information.

“Everything will become clear later on,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said. “You know, we want to respect whatever he’s going through. We’re just not going to comment on it.”

Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News echoed ESPN.com’s report about Rose being in Chicago and added some other potential factors into the mix:

Derrick Rose went AWOL before Monday’s 110-96 loss to the Pelicans, with his mysterious absence causing concern from his teammates and overshadowing another dreadful Knicks effort. Joakim Noah was the only player who said he spoke with Rose and offered, “He’s okay,” without further detail about their conversation.

The Knicks, according to a source, were able to determine Rose wasn’t in any danger while scrambling to get their stories straight Monday. Publicly, they classified him as “not with the team,” and attempts from the Daily News to unearth his whereabouts went unanswered by Rose’s camp.

A source told the News’ Frank Isola that there are strong indications Rose returned to Chicago, where his young son and most of his family resides. Since he clearly left without the team’s permission, Rose could face team punishment or a suspension depending on the circumstances.

There has been friction between Rose and coach Jeff Hornacek — a circumstance exacerbated by Rose being benched the entire fourth quarter of Friday’s victory in Milwaukee — but it’s unclear if that contributed to Rose’s disappearance. Although flaky on just about everything else concerning Rose on Monday, Hornacek was clear there was no issue between himself and Rose following the previous two games.

“No,” he said.

“We haven’t heard anything. I haven’t heard anything,” said Brandon Jennings, who started in place of Rose. “I found out 40 minutes before the game that I was going to start. I just don’t know anything.

“Definitely concerned. Definitely a situation I’ve never been in. I just hope everything is alright.”

Asked if he expects Rose to return at some point, Hornacek wasn’t exactly convincing.

“Ugh, do we expect him back? Sure.”

One conceivable scenario is that Rose is trying to force a buyout and join a contender with 44 games left on his contract.

Fred Kerber of the New York Post reports that Rose’s absence, according to his sources, is not due to a boycott of any kind:

The biggest concern of the moment is starting point guard Derrick Rose, who was a no-show for Monday’s boo-laden 110-96 thumping administered by the New Orleans Pelicans. Not even the ejections of Carmelo Anthony (technical fouls) and Kyle O’Quinn (Flagrant Foul 2) or a Mount Olympus-like effort from Pelicans star Anthony Davis could overshadow the Rose mystery.

Social media exploded with theories and speculation on Rose, much of it regarding his reportedly deteriorating relationship with Jeff Hornacek, a partnership possibly soured by two recent benchings. Later indications were Rose was dealing with a family matter and left the team — possibly to return to Chicago, where his 4-year-old son lives — without notifying Knicks officials until well after the fact.

An NBA source told The Post that Knicks general manager Steve Mills spoke to Rose late Monday night. The source said Rose missing the game was “not a boycott.”

“If it was a player issue with the team, it would’ve been straightforward and evident to everyone involved,” a source said. “This was an outside issues – harder to anticipate. That’s why this was so unexpected.”

Coach Jeff Hornacek gave no indication of Rose’s absence in his pregame press briefing. When asked if everyone would be available, the only exception he noted was forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas (illness). Hornacek afterward indicated he had not yet heard from Rose.

“We don’t have enough information to really give you anything,” Hornacek said. “That’s just going to have to wait until we hear something from Derrick himself.”

Texts to Rose’s agent, B.J. Armstrong, went unanswered, and then speculation hit full force, indicating the recent benchings and a critique of Rose’s style by the coach irritated the former MVP.