Derrick Rose, eh?
Ian Begley burned down the Knicks internet on Friday with a report that the team's front office had engaged in discussions about trading for the former MVP. It was an idea so horrifyingly Knicksian as to make fans reach for the nearest bottle of scotch.
Let's get one thing out of the way to start: This would only count as a true Knicksian trade if the front office sees this as anything other than a straight salary dump. Rose's hasn't played a full season since 2010-11 (though he did play 66 games last season, which isn't to shabby), and his level of play is nearly unrecognizable from his days of glory, though Sean Highkin pointed to some encouraging signs:
Rose showed a willingness to attack the basket—rather than take ill-advised jump shots—at a rate that was closer to his peak than recent years. According to NBA.com's SportVU tracking data, he drove to the basket 8.9 times per game last season, compared to 7.2 in 2014-15.
There have long been rumors of discord between Rose and Jimmy Butler, the team recently fired Rose's trainer/confidant, the owner is famously cheap, and perhaps they simply view this as a good chance to move on from the last few painful years of the Derrick Rose experience and get out of paying $21 million, salary cap or no salary cap.
If that be the case, then the Knicks should at least listen. Why? Because the 2016 free agency class is going to be madness. Most teams have cap space to burn, and the free agent supply is nowhere near enough to meet the demand. Bidding for unrestricted free agents will go through the roof, while teams with restricted free agents have plenty of cash on hand to match any offer. As I mentioned Friday, a Nicolas Batum or Mike Conley could earn upwards of $39 million more over a five-year deal if their teams offer them the max. And there might be no amount the Knicks could throw at the likes of Evan Fournier and Allen Crabbe that their current teams won't match.
There's a decent chance the Knicks simply miss out on all the good players. At that point, taking a one-season flier on Rose would make more sense than handing out multiple-year deals to the dregs of the free agent pool. At least they would be keeping their powder dry for the far superior 2017 free agent class.
I highly doubt the Knicks are viewing a Derrick Rose trade as anything more than an extreme fall-back option, but make no mistake, fall-back options could very well be on the table this summer. We're entering a free agency blood bath. The front office needs to be ready to think outside the box.