Today the New York Knicks made their first significant move of the offseason. In somewhat of a shocker, the Knicks sent Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon, and Jerian Grant to the Chicago Bulls for Derrick Rose, Justin Holiday, and a 2nd round pick in 2017. The shocking part isn’t the fact that they traded Lopez who just signed a 4 year deal last summer. The shocking part isn’t even the fact that the Knicks traded their first round pick from a year ago. The shocking part is the timing of it all and the fact that the “Derrick Rose to NY,” rumors actually came to fruition. Now let’s analyze this deal.
The timing actually makes sense when you look beyond the surface of the deal. Had the Knicks waited until July to make this trade happen, they would have had $3 million less in cap space this summer due to a trade bonus in Rose’s contract. So that explains the seemingly early date for this move to be made. What about trading a guy whom you just signed to a 4 year contract less than a year ago? The Knicks were adamant about Robin Lopez being their center when they inked him to a $54 million contract last off season. However, the emergence of rookie sensation Kristaps Porzingis lessened the need for a center like Lopez. Porzingis played at the four most of last year but has definitely projected to be a five in the long term. This made Lopez expendable. Next we have Jerian Grant. The Knicks gave up Tim Hardaway Jr. in a draft day deal that landed them Grant. After an impressive rookie campaign, Hardaway had a tough time fitting into the triangle offense and became expendable. Phil Jackson has always liked bigger guards in the back court and Grant fit that mold pretty well. Although Grant, like Hardaway, had a tough time adjusting to the triangle offense. It seemed as though Grant would be better fit for new Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek’s more up tempo offense. Unfortunately, with Derrick Rose becoming available on the trade market, Grant won’t get the opportunity to prove it. Finally, we get to Jose Calderon. Knicks fans have been waiting to see Calderon traded seemingly from the minute he showed up. Calderon was acquired from the Mavericks in the deal that sent Tyson Chandler back to Dallas. At the time, Calderon had a reputation as a solid point guard and floor leader. Calderon had some injuries when he first came over which slowed him down and father time took over after that. Calderon was never able to really fit and run the offense the way he was asked to. That job now belongs to Derrick Rose.
This trade makes sense for more reasons than the ones previously mentioned. This is a low risk, high reward type deal. Rose is in the final year of a 5 year contract. He’s been very open about his desire to receive another max deal next summer. With that in mind, he’s got a lot to prove and should be playing every night with a big chip on his shoulder. That could work to the Knicks advantage. The best part about this deal and Rose’s contract situation is this, if Rose flops and can’t reclaim his former glory, the Knicks can just let him walk next summer. In doing so, the Knicks will once again have cap space and a need at the point guard position. This bodes well for the Knicks because next summer will feature a highly touted group of point guards that includes Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, and Carmelo Anthony’s good friend, Chris Paul. Now the Knicks landing any one of those three is far from a sure thing, but the opportunity will indeed be there.
As far as June NBA trades go, there aren’t many that will be as big as this one. It’s not a terrible deal for the Knicks by any means. Does it make them a championship contender? No. Does it make them a top team in the east? Probably not. But it does give them another name on the roster to potentially attract free agents. With Rose on the team, there is speculation that there may be mutual interest between the Knicks and Rose’s former teammate, Joakim Noah. And with Robin Lopez gone, Noah could be a good piece to help ease and aid Porzingis along during his transition to the five spot on the floor. Carmelo Anthony must be loving this. He almost left New York to join the Bulls and play with Rose and Noah so the idea of having both of them join him in new York must be euphoric. We’ll see who ends up the winner and the loser in this deal but it seems like one of those rare trades that could actually be fair for both sides. The Knicks get the point guard they so desperately needed with relatively low risk involved, while the Bulls add three legitimate rotation players including one rookie who could end up being a starter in a couple years. Things are just heating up in the NBA off season and I for one can’t wait to see what happens next.
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