Earlier today the New York Knicks and the Chicago Bulls pulled off a freaking doozy of a deal under the noses of everyone except Adrian Wojnarowski.
It was a certified Woj bomb, and left many people scratching their heads initially. Well I’m here to tell you that despite the split dissension, this was a positive move for the Knicks. Here’s the breakdown of the deal:
Chicago Gets: Robin Lopez, Jerian Grant, Jose Calderon
New York Gets: Derrick Rose, Justin Holiday, 2017 2nd Round Pick
Here’s my take: Obviously D-Rose has been nowhere near the same player he was during his MVP season in 2011. But, given the weak point guard class this free agency season, taking a 1 year flyer on D-Rose is a smart play. Especially when you consider the Knicks did not risk any monetary concerns in the future by taking on his expiring deal.
Anyway you cut it, D-Rose is an upgrade over Calderon, AKA the walking turn style. Pairing a quality point guard who still thrives at getting in the lane is a plus for Carmelo Anthony during his peek skill level and also eases the learning curve for Kristaps Porzingis moving into his sophomore season.
What’s not getting a lot of credence by pundits is the fact that this move placates Me7o a bit, even as a low risk play. D-Rose has a high ceiling, and even if he is 75% the player he once was, he could catapult the Knicks into the playoff picture in the East. The Knicks would need just a 10 win increase from this past season to qualify in consideration of this year’s standings. Blending a roster that can compete for the playoffs next year, while not tying up future assets and cap for the future is a good way to capitalize on Me7o’s window while maintaining flexibility for the transition to KP in the future.
As it stands, the Knicks have only 3 roster sports guaranteed for the 2017 season: Melo, KP and Kyle O’Quinn. That would leave the team with somewhere around 60 FREAKING MILLION in cap space to chase Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and whatever super star could demand a trade before that time.
Sure, like many others, I was expecting D-Rose to be sold off to the highest bidder for pennies on the dollar… But the reality is, the Knicks got an upgrade without crazy financial commitment and the pieces they gave up are not crucial assets. Grant was a nice and potentially promising player who struggled to find playing time as a rookie (which was a mistake on the part of management). But, he’s also a 24 year old second year player with a broken jump shot. How much polish can he add to his game at that age or is he a finished product?
Likewise, I was a big fan of Robin Lopez during his stay in New York. He was a quality starting center on a great value deal that will look even better after this off season. But, in the evolving NBA landscape, the Knicks can replace him with a guy that compliment KP, but also allow him to play center more (a much more effective utilization of his skill set). Plus, who know how well Lopez would have potentially meshed with new Head Coach Jeff Hornacek’s fast paced offense… Lopez was a quality player on a quality contract that is replaceable.
All in all, the pros outweigh the cons here. I would much rather take a 1 year flyer on D-Rose for the 2016 season than throw max money at a guy like Mike Conley (who surprisingly played 1 less game than Rose last season). Yes, D-Rose’s numbers were very inconsistent last season. But there were also glimpses where he flashed the promise he once had, and at the very least he’s capable of getting in the lane and staying in front of opponents, which is more than can be said on Calderon. It’s a quirky fit as it currently stands, especially defensively, but it’s an upgrade over what’s been there.
The Knicks will continue to look to revamp their backcourt, so expect more moves to be on the way (it’s already reported that management is interested in bringing in Joakim Noah). It’s time to embrace D-Rose to the Garden, son.