Yesterday, the Knicks acquired former league MVP Derrick Rose from the Bulls. The full trade includes Justin Holiday, a Bulls 2017 second round pick with Rose in exchange for Jerian Grant, Robin Lopez and Jose Calderon.
As it turned out, the rumors were true. For some reason, Knicks President and General Manager Phil Jackson wanted the oft injured Rose to fill the void at point guard. Unfortunately, Rose is an old 27 whose injury history has limited his explosiveness. Once one of the game’s best combo guards who could get to the basket at will, he’s a shell of his former self.
At 22 in Year 3, he won MVP leading the Bulls to the Eastern Conference Final. However, he was shutdown by LeBron James and the Heat, who prevailed in five games. He still averaged over 23 points for the series but was held to 35.0 percent shooting and 23.3 from three. Losing to James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade was no embarrassment. They were a better team. Though I do find it interesting that when resident Rose hater and buddy John “JPG” Giagnorio brings it up, how come he doesn’t mention how the Heat choked in the NBA Finals against Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks? 😉
Getting back to Rose, his career changed due to a torn left ACL in the 2012 playoffs against Indiana. The injury and rehab cost him the entire ’12-13 season. Despite hints he could return for the first round, he decided it was better to sit out. Without him, the Bulls were eliminated by Miami again in the second round.
The run of bad luck continued when he tore his MCL in his right knee 10 games into the ’13-14 season. That cost him another year. He played in 51 games in ’14-15 averaging 17.7 points on 40.5 percent shooting and 4.7 assists. Unfortunately, another right knee meniscus tear kept him out 20 games. Rose returned for the playoffs helping the Bulls reach the Eastern Conference Semifinals. He participated in 12 games averaging 19.3 points with 6.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds. It was his first real postseason since his MVP year when he went for 24.1 points, 6.8 assists and 3.8 rebounds. The Bulls were eliminated by James and the Cavs in six after leading the series 2-1.
By now, Rose had become the Bulls’ second option behind Jimmy Butler. With Joakim Noah breaking down and Pau Gasol in a contract year, Chicago struggled to a 42-40 record missing the playoffs under first-year coach Fred Hoiberg. Rose was able to play in 66 games averaging 16.4 points on 42.7 shooting with 4.7 assists and 3.4 rebounds. He also averaged 2.7 turnovers.
As the season progressed, speculation was that the Bulls were looking to move him. He had fallen out of favor. With a year left on a big contract he signed after his MVP season for five years and $94.3 million, he was getting over $20 million in ’15-16 and owed $21.3 million in the final year. It made sense for both parties to split. It was time. Rose had become an easy target. He no longer could be the guy. The injuries took their toll.
Now, Rose is a Knick for the ’16-17 season. He has much at stake. In a contract year, can he stay healthy and help the Knicks who are built around Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony reach the playoffs? Most observers like the deal. I’m not in love with it because it subtracted the team oriented Lopez, who could’ve been a good fit in new coach Jeff Hornacek’s up-tempo system. However, the Knicks did free up cap space by subtracting the final $42 million over three years left on a four-year $55 million contract he signed last summer.
The Knicks will probably pursue available centers which range from shot blocker and rebounding extraordinaire Bismack Biyombo to Hassan Whiteside, Dwight Howard or Al Jefferson. Noah is also available. He could come home and be a solid fit in a similar role to Lopez. Noah isn’t a big scorer but can rebound, block shots and is a good passing big. The best of the lot is Whiteside, who is a huge rim protector and can intimidate while having offensive upside. I’m not sure about Biyombo, who has no offensive game but really raised his stock with a strong playoffs for Toronto. As for Howard, who shares a birthday with me, supposedly there’s interest. But is he hungry enough? Obviously, he can’t be the main guy and wouldn’t have to be. I think he’s better off in a less pressure packed environment. Jefferson has some strong post moves and can bound. But I don’t see him as a fit.
As for giving up on Grant, I hate throwing away a kid they just drafted. It was a smart move when they traded the one-dimensional Tim Hardaway, Jr. to the Hawks for the rights to Grant at 19th overall last Draft. The former Notre Dame star didn’t get consistent playing time. There were moments where he showed spurts but others where he didn’t. He needs to play. I guess it’ll be with the Bulls.
Calderon has one year owed at $7 million. The 34-year old vet never worked out here. But he did shoot 41.4 from three. Not sure he fits in the Bulls plans. Especially if they unload Butler as has been rumored and start a full rebuild.
The NBA Draft is tonight. There’s not much to report other than Ben Simmons will go first overall to the 76ers. He’s got huge upside but isn’t the brightest bulb. I wonder if Philadelphia will make Jahlil Okafor available. It’s been widely speculated that they”d be willing to include him in a deal for the Celtics’ third overall pick. We’ll see. With the 76ers, you never know what they’re thinking.
As for the Draft, it’s weak. Brandon Ingram is expected to go number 2 to the Lakers. I like him. Kris Dunn and Buddy Hield also figure to go in the top 5. I believe both will be good pros. Denzel Valentine could be a steal for someone. So could Brice Johnson.
The Knicks and Nets don’t have first round picks due to awful trades. Toronto has the Knicks’ first at No. 9 overall thanks to the brutal Andrea Bargnani trade. The Celtics have the Nets first at third overall due to the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce failure. Holy cow. Boy, did they miscalculate. At least they have a second round pick. As for Boston, they have eight total picks in two rounds including three in Round 1 which is why they’re expected to be wheeling and dealing once Simmons and Ingram are scooped up.
The Knicks are rumored to be interested in trading into Round 1. With what remains to be seen. I guess we’ll find out later. The NBA Draft can be seen on ESPN with it going off at 8 PM. I’ll catch the latter part around 9 PM.