The New York Knicks have gone down the Derrick Rose path before back in 2016 when he played 64 games for the team at 28 years old. He averaged 18 points per contest and 4.4 assists, providing his usual offensive spark, but the union lasted just one season.
Fast forward five years, and the Knicks are once again considering Rose as a potential trade target. Every off-season, the Knicks are connected to a bevy of high profile players, and while Rose is undoubtedly past his prime following multiple knee injuries, he can still provide value in specific ways. It also doesn’t hurt that him and head coach Tom Thibodeau are friends and get along very well.
“Every now and then, you find someone who matches your personality,’’ Derrick Rose’s agent Armstrong said, via the NY Post. “Tom and Derrick just hit it off. They’re peas in a pod. They’re basketball junkies. They love the game. They both love to compete. They had a unique understanding amongst themselves.’’
The New York Knicks have PG depth, but Rose can only help:
Currently, on the roster, the Knicks have Elfrid Payton and Immanuel Quickley as their primary point guards. Quickley has played more of a wing role, coming off the bench in his rookie season trying to adapt to the NBA. Payton offers a more defensive style, which Thibodeau prefers in the starting lineup.
The acquisition of Rose would be an interesting move for the Knicks, dating back to his early days when Thibodeau helped him rise to league MVP status. With $18 million in cap space remaining, they can easily take on Derrick’s contract without having to give up a player. Rose has just one more year on his deal and will be a free agent after the 2020-2021 season.
At this point in his career, his experience is the most beneficial — he’s averaging a career-high 1.3 steals per game, indicating a focus on defense. He’s averaging 14.8 points per game and connecting on .430% of his shots from the field. He no longer is a starting point guard in the NBA but rather comes off the bench and adds a bit of experience and spark on offense. If the Knicks don’t want to trade for him in a salary dump move by the league-worst Pistons, they can always wait until he’s a FA after the season.
However, there is one alternative reason I think Thibodeau believes Rose would be a perfect fit with New York. His ability to help mentor Quickley into becoming an even better player. Quickley is averaging 10.7 points per game and 2.5 assists over 18.1 minutes, earning a career-high 31 points a few nights ago against the Portland Trail Blazers.
If Rose can help Quickley develop his court vision and defensive skills, the Knicks could have their point guard for the future, thanks to a bit of assistance from a past legend. I’m not completely opposed to this move, given the available money the Knicks do you have and that Rose will be off the books after this season.