B.J. Armstrong, the former Chicago Bull and Derrick Rose’s agent, still feels this Knicks group has a good future together despite their record, and he hopes his client is part of it.
Two days after Rose was spared at the trading deadline, Armstrong told The Post the Knicks aren’t as far away as some believe.
Rose is a free agent July 1, but is eligible for a contract extension at any juncture from now until then. Considering the Knicks’ record is 12 games below .500, there are indications Phil Jackson will look for a new point guard, either in the draft or free agency.
“Nothing has changed with us,’’ Armstrong said in a phone interview. “It’s the same. We are committed to New York long term. We’ve been committed from the first day we got traded there. You win together, lose together and stick together.”
Sources told The Post the Knicks talked to the Timberwolves in the days leading to the trade deadline about a swap for point guard Ricky Rubio. Nothing materialized amid varying reports on how close a deal got.
Armstrong wonders if the Minnesota talks were as serious as advertised, saying he didn’t hear anything from Wolves coach and president Tom Thibodeau or Phil Jackson, whom he played for with the Bulls.
“I’ve known Thibodeau and Phil for 25 years, I would’ve at least gotten a call from either one of those guys if it were that close,’’ said Armstrong, a former Bulls front-office decision-maker. “I deal with the facts, not rumors. I don’t know how close they were.’’
Armstrong said there are no hard feelings, despite the reports.
“This organization is here to win basketball games,’’ Armstrong said. “Bottom line, if they’re 12 games over .500, no one’s having that conversation.’’
Instead, the Knicks entered Saturday’s Garden match against the Sixers 12 games below .500 (23-35) — with the same number of losses as rebuilding Philly.
The Knicks still are considered on the outside fringe of a playoff race – five games out of the eighth seed with 24 to play.
“They’re still figuring out each other,’’ Armstrong said. “New system. New coach. I tell Derrick don’t get frustrated, stick with the system and players and keep encouraging guys and try to find a way to win games. That’s what being a good teammate is all about.’’
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SOURCE: New York Post