Phil Jackson added to a list of questionable moves in the franchise’s history with his recent Derrick Rose deal that can go in various directions for the New York Knicks.
A Rose, chock full of damaged petals, is getting its second chance at life.
But instead of being a flower with a vibrant red hue or a heavenly white aura, it’ll instead be orange and blue.
The New York Knicks also received shooting guard Justin Holiday and a 2017 second round selection in the transaction.
The move screams Knickerbockers as loud as a businessman trying to flag down a cab on 5th Avenue. The acquisition of Antonio McDyess was an original risk, as James Dolan took a gamble on his repaired knee. The former All-Star played in just 18 games with the Knicks.
Then there was the trade for Penny Hardaway, who at one time looked like a clone of Magic Johnson. The high-flying and mystifying Steve Francis was acquired soon thereafter. Those deals didn’t work out either.
When the Knicks brought in Tracy McGrady in 2010, you know they were looking for any signs of life despite having an injury history longer than his impressive on-court accolades. And despite no one going near him with a long-term pact, Dolan ponied up a max deal to Amar’e Stoudemire after missing out on LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Joe Johnson.
Do you get the trend here?
On the surface, Rose looks like the next player who will be a part of this list. At one time, the point guard was the best player in the Association as his lightning speed, ability to get to the hole, and ferocity on offense had yet to be seen. By the time he finished his fourth regular season, Rose was a Rookie of the Year, All-NBA First Teamer, three-time All-Star, and league MVP.
His Chicago Bulls were the only team in the Eastern Conference that was viewed as a threat to the real life version of Space Jam’s Monstars, the Miami Heat. The main reason? No one could match up with Rose.
He was Russell Westbrook before Russell Westbrook was Russell Westbrook. He was the next big thing. He was going to lead the Bulls into their next dynasty.
That Rose, that once blossomed like no other, started to see its petals fall off.
Against the eighth seed Philadelphia 76ers, Rose was looking for a triple-double as his team was up 12 points with less than two minutes to play. Driving to the basket in his typical all-out playing style, his left knee caved under him after a thunderous hop step.
Two words more feared than hearing your parents call you by your first, middle, and last name. Rose sat out the entire 2012-13 campaign with the hopes that his season-long rehabilitation would bring him back to his level of domination.
Despite showing signs of a resurgence, Rose once again injured his knee. Although it was his right one this time, the point guard tore his meniscus and less than a month into his comeback, he was sidelined for the season.
A new year began. And a new injury occurred.
Plagued by knee injuries throughout the second half of the 2014-15 season, he underwent the same meniscus surgery from the year prior. Not only did Rose lose playing time because he was spending it recovering, but he also lost what made him unique.
Rose still played with ferociousness, but onlookers cringed with every step he took. Every time he jumped up for a rebound or layup, fans prayed for a safe landing. When he would use his knee buckling crossover, viewers hoped his knees would, too, stay intact.
Outside of breaking his orbital bone, 2015-16 was a strong comeback season for Rose. Although advanced metrics showed that he took multiple steps back, his averages of 16 points, five assists and three rebounds over 66 games proved there was still something left in the tank.
And now he has the chance to showcase his talent on the biggest stage of them all.
Sure, this could be seen as a typical Knicks move — take a chance on someone who is on his last legs instead of giving young players a chance.
But this wasn’t exactly the Great Trade Robbery.
Lopez is a nice player and he formed a strong front court with Kristaps Porzingis. But with a relatively deep crop big men available on the market, he was expendable.
Despite showing signs of promise, Grant also struggled in his first professional season and didn’t appear to be a favorite amongst management. And I’m still having nightmares of opposing point guards running circles around Calderon.
And how can you say this is like every other Knicks deal? They didn’t even give up a draft pick!
This is the textbook definition of a high risk, high reward deal. Rose is in the final year of his five-year, $94.8 million pact; if he doesn’t mesh well with Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony or injuries come back into the picture, he will walk at season’s end and Phil Jackson can throw a max contract at Westbrook or Steph Curry.
But if he adjusts well to New York City and is healthy, the Knicks have a player who fits right into the run and gun style of Jeff Hornacek. They’ll have someone who can drive and dish and drive and score. On an expiring deal and ousted from Chi-Town, they’ll have someone looking for a massive payday with something to prove.
This Rose, damaged petals and all, was uprooted from West Madison Street and placed in a new Garden on Pennsylvania Plaza with a second lease on life.
Madison Square Garden.