The Chicago Bulls have traded All-Star point guard Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks on Wednesday as part of a package that featured multiple players.
The Knicks confirmed that they had traded big man Robin Lopez and point guards Jerian Grant and Jose Calderon in exchange for Rose, Justin Holiday and a 2017 second-round draft pick. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune first reported the full package.
Chris Broussard of ESPN spoke to a source “close to Rose,” who said the point guard is excited about playing for the Knicks. “His 1st choice was New York (if traded),” the source told Broussard. “He wants the spotlight.”
“This is an exciting day for New York and the Knicks,” Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek said in a statement, via Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “Derrick is one of the top point guards in the NBA who is playoff-battle-tested. He adds a whole new dynamic to our roster and immediately elevates our backcourt.”
The Bulls thanked Rose for his contributions to the franchise in a post on their Twitter account after the announcement of the deal:
Thank You, Derrick. pic.twitter.com/ZzMNVg4wuv
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) June 22, 2016
“We will always be grateful to Derrick,” Bulls general manager Gar Forman said in a statement, via Sean Highkin of Bleacher Report. “He was a great teammate who put winning first, and nobody fought harder through injuries and disappointment. He wowed us all when he was on the floor and at his best. His MVP season was one for the ages. We wish Derrick nothing but the best moving forward.”
The biggest question in wake of the blockbuster deal is which version of Rose is going to show up for the Knicks. The front office will hope for the three-time All-Star selection who captured the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award for the 2010-11 campaign.
It’s been a while since he performed on that level, though. The 27-year-old guard has compiled an extensive injury list in recent years, including a multitude of knee problems that derailed his career in Chicago.
Here’s a look at his rise and fall through the lens of games played and his player efficiency rating, per Basketball-Reference.com:
Two things immediately jump out from those numbers. The first is the obvious observation he hasn’t been the same player since the knee issues. The other is the drop-off in play last season when you would have liked to see further progress in his second full season back.
A look at the standard statistics shows the wide difference between his MVP year and the production he provided the Bulls last season:
Rose isn’t delusional about his current standing within the league, though. Johnson passed along comments from the point guard in April about the road ahead:
I sometimes feel people forget I’ve endured three surgeries, three rehabs. But even when I was younger, I always had the underdog mentality. People always would put people in front of me. I always had to fight my way to the top.
In this league, having the success that I had so early and then having the injuries that I had, it kind of put me in the same place. I’m familiar with it. It’s not foreign ground. I’ve been here before and there’s nothing but hard work to get back to the top.
On the flip side, his new team didn’t have to pay an MVP-level price tag to get him. It is essentially buying low based on his play over the past few years with the potential upside of seeing him return to top form, though the chances of that seem low.
Another question mark is how long the partnership will last. Rose is only under contract for one more season with a cap hit of just over $21.3 million for 2016-17 before he can become an unrestricted free agent next summer, according to Spotrac.
Rose joining the Knicks makes a lot of sense from a basketball perspective. They have been searching for somebody to run the offense alongside Carmelo Anthony, who led the team with just 4.2 assists per game last season, for several years.
A healthy Rose can fill that void, take some pressure off Anthony and give the team a promising foundation triumvirate when you factor in Kristaps Porzingis. Of course, that’s dependent on the point guard staying healthy for at least a majority of the games.
That said, the biggest point of uncertainty beyond his injury history is how he’ll handle the New York market. Going from Chicago to NYC means the level of scrutiny is either going to remain the same or become even more intense as the shadow of the player he used to be continues to loom large.
Ultimately, Rose and the Bulls were probably better off going their separate ways, as expectations based on his initial success kept hampering his revitalization efforts. Perhaps a change of scenery will allow him to rediscover his past magic.