On Friday, Tony Jones of The Athletic reported on the HoopsHype podcast that the Jazz and the Knicks are currently nowhere near a deal and have not been for over two weeks now. The Jazz still want a package including a myriad of first-round picks and a couple of young players, and don’t want to take on any long contracts. We recently covered how the Jazz were only interested in any deal which included Quentin Grimes. Apparently there is another player that has been a sticking point in the trade talks between the two teams: Derrick Rose. The Jazz don’t seem to be in an all-or-nothing state of mind with Rose like they are with Grimes but they are reportedly way more likely to take on Rose’s contract than they are Evan Fournier’s or Julius Randle’s. While Rose, at the age of 33, doesn’t factor into the Jazz’s long-term plans, he fits the short-term contract part of the Jazz’s asking price very nicely. But, as is the case with Grimes, the Knicks are not keen on trading him away at the moment.
Rose is owed $14.5 million this season, which would help match salaries for a possible trade. More importantly for the Jazz, the fact that his contract after this season is a team option makes him very appealing for a team that will be in the middle of a huge rebuild. While it would be unfortunate to see Rose go in a Mitchell trade, it makes a lot of sense for the Jazz to want him. Not only is he an expiring contract, unlike the aforementioned Fournier and Randle, his veteran leadership and locker room presence could be a huge added bonus for a team looking to reestablish a winning culture. He’d may even help sell a few jerseys and some extra tickets. The Jazz could even flip him for another pick or some more young prospects in a deal with a contending team around the trade deadline.
On the Knicks’ thinking process, Jones said: “I know the Knicks want to hang onto him and Grimes. Those guys are priorities.” And it’s understandable. For a lot of the same reasons as the Jazz, the Knicks want Rose on their side. Rose is coming off a disappointing season that was derailed by injuries, but we shouldn’t forget how impactful he was for the Knicks in the 2020-21 campaign. A trade for Mitchell could mean the departure of Grimes and Immanuel Quickley, and if that is the case, then the Knicks would need guard depth badly. While Deuce McBride has shown flashes of being a good player, there are still questions surrounding his offense. Going into training camp with him being the lone backup point guard could be somewhat worrisome. Rose is by no means untouchable, but keeping Rose — a favorite of coach Tom Thibodeau, the front office, and the fans — would allow the Knicks to keep a proven and experienced back up point guard that can still mentor whichever young pieces left on the Knicks roster.
That being said, if the Knicks front office really want to make this trade happen, and believe that it is the right deal, then they should not and cannot let Rose be the deal-breaker. This isn’t to say that the Knicks need to or will get desperate to make a deal happen, but at the end of the day, he is closer to the end of his career than the beginning. The organization cannot let the coach’s affinity to him get in the way of a deal if they believe it makes them better.