The New York Knicks should seek a reunion between coach Tom Thibodeau and the point guard he made a household name, Derrick Rose.
Except, however, it is. Shams Charania of The Athletic now reports both the Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers are interested in the former MVP and No. 1 overall pick.
This is a trade that makes perfect sense, especially for the Knicks. Derrick Rose isn’t the star he was a decade ago, but still brings enough to the table that he’s worth keeping around as a veteran leader.
The reasons why the Knicks make sense are obvious. The team needs a lot of point guard help. Rose has a strong relationship with coach Tom Thibodeau.
More importantly, though some may not realize it, trading for Derrick Rose could set the Knicks up for a fruitful future.
New York > Los Angeles
Let’s start with the obvious. The Clippers may be in a better position to win a title, and it would make sense for Rose to go there if chasing rings is his priority. They’re currently neck and neck with the defending champion Lakers in the Western Conference. Plus, the opportunity to play alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George is intriguing.
Yet, as Charania’s colleague at The Athletic Jovan Buha wrote, the Clippers struggled with team chemistry last season. Even at 13-4, this team is a potential time bomb. Los Angeles is also already loaded at guard, and Rose isn’t a particularly strong scorer or defender anymore. Adding him to the mix won’t make the team better.
The New York Knicks, however, would tremendously benefit from bringing back Derrick Rose. It helps that he already knows the city, having spent the 2016-17 season in the Big Apple. He averaged 18 points and 4.4 assists in 64 games, and hasn’t appeared in more than 51 in a season since then.
Now, however, the situation is different. Rose isn’t a former star being asked to lead a team during a rebuild. He’d be playing for Thibodeau, the same man who coached Rose to an MVP trophy their first year working together.
The two later reunited in Minnesota and even though Thibodeau was fired midway through the 2018-19 season, Rose still flourished. He posted 18 points per game again and has since flourished in a backup role with the Detroit Pistons.
New York and Thibodeau now need Rose again, and way more than Los Angeles.
Plus, the pizza and traffic are way better here. Why even bother considering LA and the damn freeways to begin with?
The Quickley conundrum
Let’s get back to the matter at hand. How do Derrick Rose and the New York Knicks make sense for basketball reasons?
The answer can be found in one Immanuel Quickley. The rookie from Kentucky has been an absolute scoring spark off the Knicks’ bench, so much that some wonder why Elfrid Payton still starts. Even after Quickley scored a career-high 31 points off the bench in Sunday’s loss at Portland, Thibodeau said the youngster would continue to come off the bench.
The reason for this is simple. Payton is so inconsistent as a starter that it’s practically necessary for Quickley to be a bench player. Those inconsistencies would be magnified tenfold if Payton came off the pine himself.
But now, consider the Detroit Pistons and their position. They’re rebuilding and the Knicks have assets, namely two first-round picks acquired from Dallas in the Kristaps Porzingis trade. Perhaps packaging Payton with one of the picks could be enough to close the deal. Marc Berman of The New York Post notes Frank Ntilikina doesn’t have much of a role with the team now, so perhaps he too can be added to a deal for Rose.
Most important of all, the Knicks need Derrick Rose because Quickley needs a mentor, and the two have quite a bit in common. Both are smaller guards who aren’t overly athletic. Both got their start in the NBA playing for Thibodeau.
Additionally, both Rose and Quickley cut their teeth in college playing for an absolute legend in John Calipari. Even with an 11-year age gap, the two can relate well to one another.
The Knicks are actually in a position to contend for a playoff spot now. Why shouldn’t the front office be more aggressive in pursuing Rose?
My overall point is simple. The New York Knicks’ point guard woes are sadder than Marley & Me, Up, and the last season of Game of Thrones combined. If Elfrid Payton continues to play significant minutes, the potential to reach Shakesperean levels of tragedy exists.
Meanwhile, Derrick Rose has significant ties to Thibodeau and would be a perfect mentor for their potential future franchise point guard. Much like current Knicks Austin Rivers and Nerlens Noel, Rose is someone who can teach the young core of RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, and others how to win.
Thankfully, the trade deadline is still some time away and there really isn’t a rush to get a deal done.
But if the Clippers’ interest in Rose is indeed serious, the Knicks need to start putting a package together now.
It may not seem that way, but the team’s future might depend on it.