The dust had barely settled on the celebrations in Cleveland yet when the NBA moved on to the next business of off-season blockbuster moves.
The first trade of the off-season may not have caused the shockwaves it would have four seasons ago when Derrick Rose was still a top 10 player in the league, but it is curious that the Knicks are getting so much flak for making the trade.
Let’s face it, the Knicks could do much worse than getting Derrick Rose as their point guard next season. For sure, he’s a risk given his traumatizing health record. But considering what the Knicks gave up to get him: Robin Lopez, Jerian Grant and Jose Calderon, it was a risk well worth taking.
Calderon should be retired, and Jerian Grant will probably end up being a third string point guard off the bench or the next guy the Sixers throw in as their starter. Lopez is the only player they lost who might stand a chance to start on half the teams in the league. He’s serviceable, but hardly a game changer, and the direction the league is moving in it may be a good idea to start Porzingis at Centre anyway. Most importantly, no first round picks were lost in the deal!
That to me is a perfectly acceptable price to pay for: 1) a starting point guard which they desperately lacked the past three seasons; 2) a third best starter who can still create decent offense for himself or others; 3) a gamble however slim the chance that Rose somehow gets healthy and returns anywhere near to his previous MVP level of play. His contract may look tough to swallow now, but is not that big of problem considering the huge increase in cap space the next few years.
Had the Knicks kept Lopez and the two guards, they’d still be one of the worst teams in the league and no where close to making the playoffs. With Rose, they are now a potential 7th or 8th seed in a weak Eastern Conference which was exposed in the recent playoffs. Barring injury, Rose can be a good fit for the team, capable of creating space and setting up Melo or Porzingis for easier looks, as well as taking on the lead role on offense for short stretches when Melo is rested.
Perhaps the biggest contribution Rose could make is off the court. Still a big name around the league, adding Rose signals to the rest of the league that the Knicks might finally be ready to drag themselves out of the league basement. Coming to New York may not seem like such a bad idea to free agents now that they will be teaming with Melo, Porzingis and Rose, so we might even see one or two more surprise signings in the coming weeks. If Dwight Howard lands in New York this off-season, it’ll only have happened because Rose came first. A lineup of Howard, Porzingis, Melo, Afflalo and Rose, though fragile, will surely be able to compete in the East.
All in all, the Knicks will at least be much more interesting to watch next season, and may even finally drag themselves out of the league basement and make New York basketball relevant again.