It’s going to be weird, but Derrick Rose will wear orange and blue next season.
The Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks executed a blockbuster trade today, just two days removed from the NBA Finals, exchanging Rose, Justin Holiday and a 2017 2nd-rounder for Robin Lopez, Jerian Grant and Jose Calderon.
It’s still sinking in that the Rose era in Chicago is over. His fall from stardom has been as difficult as his rise was enjoyable.
Let’s be clear: This is only a blockbuster trade because of the starriness Rose’s name evokes. He is not the same player who won the 2011 MVP and nearly wrested the league from LeBron James. His name still carries the glitz and glamor required for New York and the marketing buzz alone makes it an interesting trade. Not a good one, but an interesting one, for sure.
That’s an important distinction. This is probably a bad deal for the Knicks. Lopez is no star, but he’s a quality NBA big man locked into a below-market deal until 2019. No team is going to find a better big man at a cheaper price than Lopez’s $13 million, this summer or next. Calderon is objectively bad at this stage in his career and can fairly be characterized as salary filler. Grant, on the other hand, is a young point guard on a cheap contract for the next three seasons. He was the Knicks’ only non-Porzingis asset.
When the rumors of this trade first surfaced I was all for it. Rolling the dice on Rose, being the team to give him one last chance seemed like a good idea and felt better the more you looked at this year’s free agent point guard class. But the Knicks, again, overreached and gave up too much. Three other teams decided on other point guards about an hour before the Knicks. Who were they bidding against?
Giving up all that the Knicks did for a player in the last year of his contract who played in just over 50 percent of his teams games the last three seasons is not the way build a winning franchise.
That is what makes this trade bad for the Knicks. Their biggest problem entering this offseason was an unknown timeline. Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony are at very different places in their careers. Trading a young guard, even if he never amounts anything, for an aging, oft-injured, former star is not the answer.
Yes, the Knicks desperately needed a point guard. Yes, the trade will give them about $13 million in extra cap space next summer. But there is no guarantee Rose will be better than Grant next season, if he even stays on the floor. Nor are the Knicks likely to find someone better than Lopez to spend that $13 million on.
Until the Knicks begin to think long-term they will continue to make these kinds of disappointing moves and be mediocre in the short term.