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2006: Rose Signs With Suns

June 24, 2008

rose_practice_0611062.jpgNov. 7, 2006 — Not surprisingly, the self-proclaimed "Rose That Grew
From Concrete" wasn’t pounding the pavement for employment long.

A little over a week after being waived by the Knicks, 12-year NBA
veteran free agent Jalen Rose signed with the Suns Tuesday. The
33-year-old swingman, who weathered a well-documented upbringing in the
rough and tumble West Side of Detroit, will give the defending Pacific
Division champs yet another go-to guy on a team chock full of them.

"They have great players already," Rose smiled. "They have All-Stars
Shawn Marion, Amaré Stoudemire and two-time MVP Steve Nash. I’m just
happy to be one of the guys, fit in, be a veteran, provide some
leadership and try and get this team to the top. Teams that have great
success are teams with multiple players who can do multiple things. I’m
one of those guys, also."

Phoenix marks Rose’s sixth NBA team (Denver, Indiana, Chicago, Toronto,
New York), and brings with him averages of 14.7 points, 3.5 boards and
3.9 assists in 31 minutes a night over 894 career games.

"You’ve seen Jalen’s stats," Head Coach Mike D’Antoni said. "You’ve
seen what he’s done with the talent he has. He can play at the three,
two and one. He’s a veteran who understands what goes on, so he adds
another player who can play. A playmaker with some good outside
shooting – there are a lot of things he can help us with."

Nash added, "I think it?s a great opportunity to sign a player of his
caliber. He’s a talented basketball player who can shoot, pass and make
plays. He gives us a lot of versatility, depth and talent offensively.
He also gives Mike a lot of options. It’ll take him a little bit to
figure out the rhythm and tempo we play at, but Jalen will figure it
out."

Figuring it out has been Rose’s forte ever since his three standout
seasons at Michigan. Rounding out the Wolverines "Fab Five" of Juwan
Howard, Chris Webber, Ray Jackson and Jimmy King en route to NCAA title
appearances in 1992 and ’93, Rose was selected 13th overall by the
Nuggets in the 1994 Draft.

The swingman went on to average double figures in scoring nine of his
12 NBA seasons, including the last eight. His 13,112 career points make
him the most prolific scorer on the Suns’ roster, 22nd among all active
NBA players.

While Rose declined to reveal which Suns players helped convince him to
make Phoenix his new home, it’s not like he didn’t know what the team
had to offer. Moonlighting as a part-time broadcaster for the likes of
ESPN, TNT, ABC and The Best Damn Sports Show Period has its advantages.

"Being able to cover this team in the playoffs," Rose began, "that gave
me an up-close and-personal look at not only the personality of the
players on this team, but how they can get it done on the court with
interchangeable parts."

Jokingly mentioning "being traded once or twice" in his career, Rose
said the key to staying positive was adjusting and rolling with the
punches associated with playing in the NBA. Getting to choose his own
destiny as a free agent, not to mention going to a contender, doesn’?t
hurt either.

"Sometimes you go home and wonder what’s in store," he explained. "When
I got traded from Indiana to Chicago and they were the worst team in
the league, there was nothing I could do but drive up I-94 and be a pro
about it. Getting traded from Chicago to Toronto, and then Toronto to
New York, was pretty much the same thing. So, at the end of the day
when you have the opportunity to be a free agent, if you have any
brains you’d better pick a winner."

By Josh Greene, Suns.com