Why the Trade for Derrick Rose was a No-Brainer for the Knicks
If you haven’t heard already, earlier today the New York Knicks landed a blockbuster deal with the Chicago Bulls, acquiring Derrick Rose, Justin Holiday, and a 2017 second round pick, in exchange for Jose Calderon, Jerian Grant and Robin Lopez. Here I’ll examine the trade from New York’s point of view, and explain why all Knicks fans should be extremely pleased with deal.
To start, I will go through each player dealt in the swap, and why the Knicks either decided to get them, or to let them go.
Who They Got
Derrick Rose: Without question the biggest player in the move, Rose will make an immediate impact to the Knicks, and could potentially be the key to acquire a playoff spot in a weak Eastern conference. The key to this deal though, is that now Carmelo Anthony will have a legitimate Point Guard, and second option to help him. Melo has always been a much better player when there’s a competent PG around. When he was in Denver and had guys like Chauncey Billups playing the position, Carmelo’s efficiency was at its highest, as was his team’s success. With Billups, the Nuggets went to the Western Conference Finals, and when Carmelo and the Knicks had Jason Kidd, (who was 39 years old and more washed up at the time then Rose is now) Anthony had a career year, leading the Knicks to a #2 seed in the East. What the Knicks get in Rose is a perennially injured, former star, 5 years removed from an MVP season, but a player who if (a big if) he can stay healthy, can make an impact and be a major upgrade to a weak backcourt, and can certainly help take a load off of Carmelo Anthony. Remember, Rose is only 27 years old.
Justin Holiday: At his best, the 27 year old Holiday can be a minor role in the Knicks rotation, but was really just a “throw-in” to this deal. He will most likely have a hard time getting minutes, and if he does, it will probably be because of his defensive abilities.
2017 2nd Round Pick– Picks are always good, especially for a team who never seems to have any. Although recent history suggests this pick will be useless, perhaps Phil Jackson’s draft success continues on this one.
Who They Gave Up
Jose Calderon: Possibly the most hated guy on the 2015 Knicks, Calderon could not catch a break this year. New Yorkers were calling for his release all of last season, and the tough NY media continued to blame the 34-year old Point Guard for many of the Knicks struggles. Fans are not sad to see him go.
Jerian Grant: During last year’s NBA Draft, the Knicks pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Tim Hardaway Jr. to the Hawks and gave the Knicks the rights to Jerian Grant. But the Grant experiment hasn’t worked. In his rookie year, Jerian averaged 5.6 points and just 2.3 assists in 16.6 minutes per game. While some of this lack of production may have come as a result of the strange way that Kurt Rambis used his rookies last year, Grant’s struggles were too big to ignore. Although he showed some potential, the Knicks are not worried about Grant becoming a future star in the NBA.
Robin Lopez: A solid player, Lopez did a very good job in his role as the starting Center last season. Last offseason, Phil Jackson signed Lopez to a 4-year, $54 million deal, and for the most part, Lopez has delivered. He was a nice piece to the Knicks’ frontcourt but was not a game-changing player, and this now opens up a spot in the starting lineup for the Knicks to either go after Dwight Howard or Joakim Noah in free agency.
Not only was this an extremely smart deal personnel-wise, but it is also great for the Knicks when looking at the contract aspect. Derrick Rose is in a “contract year,” meaning that he will have extra motivation to succeed this season, and regardless, the Knicks have no responsibility for him after this year. Worst-case scenario for New York is that Rose either gets injured again/doesn’t play up to standards, and they let him go following the 2016-17 season. Ric Bucher put it best: “The Knicks get a free look at a former MVP.”
The same goes for Justin Holiday, as he also has just one year left on his deal. This is a no-lose situation for the Knicks. Not only are they not losing any cap space, the Knicks are actually gaining some with the deal. By sending Robin Lopez to the Bulls, New York will save over $15 million on their 2017-2018 cap.
Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. Can this be the New York Knicks’ “big 3?” It certainly is exciting to ponder, and the fun part of the offseason (the draft and free agency) hasn’t even started. Can Phil Jackson get another big name to play in the Big Apple this season? Maybe Derrick Rose will attract other stars. We don’t really know exactly what the domino effect of this trade will be, but I would be shocked if the Knicks don’t make the playoffs this year. While the Bulls added some nice pieces to their roster, for the first time in a while, basketball in New York is looking good. There is really no debate; the Knicks won this deal. I know I’m getting ahead of myself here, but hey, I’m a Knicks fan, this is usually the most exciting part of our season.