Yes, Derrick Rose comes with concerns, but he still drastically upgrades a dreadful New York Knicks back court.
Both Jeff Hornacek and general manager Steve Mills publicly expressed their desire to upgrade the team’s point guard position via either free agency or trade.
New York boasted one of the NBA’s worst back courts last season. Jose Calderon, 34, was the league’s oldest starting point guard. Langston Galloway and rookie Jerian Grant still have much to learn in their early careers. The Knicks also acquired Tony Wroten, Jr., but he has yet to play a game.
Rose averaged 16.4 points and 4.7 assists per game last year, but multiple injuries including two major knee surgeries have limited him to only 166 of a possible 312 regular season games in the last four seasons.
New York snagging Rose, 27, from Chicago could benefit the team in a variety of ways, both short and long-term.
How can the Knicks acquire Rose?
New York will have at least $19 million in cap space this summer. That number could rise to $33 million if Jackson renounces the team’s upcoming free agents. Rose is scheduled to make $20 million next year.
The Knicks will likely need to involve a third party to get a deal done.
Carmelo Anthony holds a no-trade clause on his contract, and it would take an offer Jackson couldn’t refuse to deal Kristaps Porzingis.
Other players on contract for next season are Robin Lopez ($13.2 million), Kyle O’Quinn ($4 million), Calderon ($7.7 million), Grant ($1.6 million) and Tony Wroten ($1 million). Afflalo and Williams hold player options on their deals. New York has no picks in the 2016 NBA Draft.
Does Rose make sense?
Hornacek mentioned acquiring a “bridge” point guard — younger than Calderon but older than Grant, 23. Rose fits the bill.
The three-time NBA All-Star and former league Most Valuable Player would immediately become the team’s lead guard, a role he split following the emergence of Jimmy Butler.
Rose has endured two major knee surgeries in his career. Defensive mobility will be an issue, as it was before his injuries, but Rose is still a capable scorer and ball-handler in the NBA.
He scored more than 25 points nine times last season, including a 30-point barrage in an April win over the Knicks. Rose would be an instant upgrade from both Calderon and Grant.
What if it doesn’t work?
Rose is also entering his contract year, the final season on a five-year, $93 million deal he signed in 2011. If the acquisition goes south, it can be seen as a one-year rental: Rose will hit free free agency and New York will have an additional $21 million in cap space to sign free agents next summer.
Kristian Winfield covers the New York Knicks for ESNY. You can start the conversation on Twitter @Krisplashed.