The Knicks are on the verge of acquiring former NBA MVP Derrick Rose from Detroit, a source confirmed on Sunday.
The trade — in which the Knicks will send Dennis Smith Jr. and a second-round pick to the Pistons — will reunite Rose with Tom Thibodeau, who coached the former Knick with Chicago and Minneapolis.
The trade will not be announced until the players pass their physicals.
The Knicks are 11-14 after Sunday’s 109-103 loss to the Heat at the Garden. Thibodeau declined to comment on the trade after the game. The Knicks’ next game is Tuesday in Miami.
If the trade is completed, Rose, 32, will join a crowded point guard spot that includes starter Elfrid Payton, impressive rookie backup Immanuel Quickley and the all-but-forgotten Frank Ntilikina.
In 15 games with Detroit, Rose is averaging 14.2 points and 4.2 assists.
"I know him my whole career," said Knicks center Taj Gibson, who was a teammate of Rose’s in Chicago. "He’s a competitor. At this stage, right now, he’s a great guy. I know his character. I know how he’s built and being back around familiar faces, he would be a great attribute for myself and most of the young guys, helping the team atmosphere, I guess."
Rose has a base salary of $7.3 million this season. Smith’s salary is $5.6 million. The Knicks were about $18 million under the salary cap before the proposed deal.
ESPN.com reported the Knicks will surrender a second-round pick they acquired from Charlotte.
Rose was the league MVP in 2010-11 with the Bulls under Thibodeau. He averaged 25.0 points and 7.7 assists and stamped himself as one of the most exciting young players in the NBA.
Thibodeau often uses Rose’s MVP season as a 22-year-old as a counter argument to those who say he is not comfortable coaching young players. Thibodeau mentioned it during Sunday’s pregame Zoom news conference, just a few hours before reports of the trade started circulating.
"I think you just look at the guys and study who was on each team — Derrick Rose is the youngest MVP in the history of the league,’’ Thibodeau said. "So I don’t worry about that stuff."
A torn ACL that cost Rose the 2012-13 season also robbed the 2008 No. 1 overall pick of much of the explosiveness that allowed him to average more than 20 points per game. But he still can be a valuable veteran piece for the Knicks as they seek a playoff spot in the NBA’s 72-game season.
Julius Randle, the Knicks’ leading scorer, said of the trade: "I’m rolling on whatever [the front office] feels we need. As a player myself, I can only control what I can control."
Rose played for the Knicks in 2016-17 and averaged 18.0 points and 4.4 assists in 64 games. His season ended in April when he had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, his fourth surgery on that knee.
Rose wanted to re-sign with the Knicks, but the team — which had just fired team president Phil Jackson — wasn’t interested in a reunion. Rose signed a below-market deal to join LeBron James with the Cavaliers before getting traded to Utah in February 2018.
Rose never played for the Jazz. He was waived two days later and finished the season with Thibodeau in Minnesota.
In 2018-19, Rose played in 51 games for the Timberwolves (Thibodeau was fired after 40 games). He appeared in 50 games with the Pistons last season.
Smith, 23, was a big piece for the Knicks when they traded Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas, but the former ninth overall pick did not pan out in New York. He has appeared in only three games this season and recently was reassigned — at his own request — to the NBA’s G League bubble in Orlando to get some playing time.
The proposed trade between the Knicks and the Pistons was first reported by The Athletic.