The Knicks addressed their need for a point guard and acquired former NBA MVP and No. 1 overall pick Derrick Rose yesterday in a blockbuster deal with the Bulls. The Knicks sent Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant to the Bulls and also received shooting guard Justin Holiday and a 2017 second-round pick.
Rose, 27, has had an injury-plagued history and is in the final year of his contract. The Knicks hope to catch lightning in a bottle with Rose out to prove he’s still an elite player and worthy of another big payday next summer when contracts will be at an all-time high.
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“This is an exciting day for New York and our fans,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said in a statement. “Derrick is one of the top point guards in the NBA who is playoff battle-tested. He adds a whole new dynamic to our roster and immediately elevates our backcourt.”
Knicks president Phil Jackson has wanted to upgrade the point guard position and Rose does that, provided he can stay healthy long enough to help the Knicks end a three-year playoff drought.
Rose is an explosive player and can get to the basket against anyone, but injuries slowed him the last several years. He’s missed 162 games the past five years, including one full season, after tearing the ACL in his left knee, and needing subsequent surgeries on both knees.
Rose appeared in 66 games last season — his most since his 2010-11 MVP campaign — and averaged 16.4 points and 4.7 assists. He is owed $21 million in the final year of his contract.
The Knicks will look to fill their needs at shooting guard and starting center when free agency begins next week.
Pairing Rose with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis gives the Knicks more weapons, whether they run the triangle offense or the pick-and-rolls that Hornacek favors.
Rose has career averages of 19.7 points and 6.2 assists. He led the Bulls to a 62-20 record and a berth in the Eastern Conference finals during his MVP season.
Point guard has been a weakness for the Knicks over the years. The NBA has become a point guard-driven league.
Calderon, 34, is a consummate professional, but injuries slowed him during his first season with the Knicks. He was a defensive liability since they acquired him from Dallas two summers ago in the Tyson Chandler trade. He averaged 8.1 points and 4.4 assists in two seasons with the Knicks.
Lopez was the Knicks’ big free-agent signing last summer, getting a four-year, $54-million contract. He averaged 10.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.57 blocks.
By dealing Lopez, the Knicks are expected to pursue a big man in free agency. Bulls center Pau Gasol opted out of his contract and is a free agent. He has ties to Jackson from their time together with the Lakers. But Gasol likely will want to go to a team that is ready to win.
Another former Rose teammate, Joakim Noah, also will be a free agent and could be a good fit because of his versatility as a defender. Dwight Howard opted out of his contract with Houston and is available. ESPN.com reported he has interest in the Knicks.
The Knicks could play Porzingis at center at times with Anthony at power forward. Hornacek favors playing a smaller and quicker lineup. The Knicks also will need a backup point guard. They could try to get involved in tonight’s NBA Draft, but they have no picks and few assets now.
They traded two of their main ones in Lopez and Grant, so most of their work is expected to be done in free agency, where they should have more than $30 million to spend.
The Knicks acquired Grant in last year’s draft. He was considered the point guard of the future, but he struggled in the triangle offense. He was considered someone who would do well in Hornacek’s system. Grant averaged 5.6 points and 2.3 assists over 16.6 minutes as a rookie.
Holiday averaged 4.5 points for the Hawks and Bulls last season. He has played with four teams in three NBA seasons.
The Knicks also announced that they waived Tony Wroten.