The same old Knicks, right? Get a big name past his prime to make a splash and sell tickets. Madison Square Garden is a circus and, for better or for worse, it's the best show in town. This move, trading for Derrick Rose, feels different, though. It feels smart. It feels like Phil Jackson knows what he’s doing as an executive.
First he drafts Kristaps Porzingis, then he hires Jeff Hornacek when everyone swore he was going to give Kurt Rambis the job, and now he makes a frugal trade by getting rid of Jose Calderon, Robin Lopez’s four-year contract, and creating more flexibility to sign players this offseason and the next. Phil and the Knicks took a low risk flyer on a 27-year-old former MVP with a $21 million expiring contract and still has $30 million in cap this offseason and $51 million in cap the next once Rose’s contract comes off the books.
Granted, Rose hasn't played 30 minutes in 10 straight games in five years, but those knees still have some life in them, and he's a cold blooded killer—the kind of guy Melo needs by his side. Rose comes to the Knicks with playoff experience and things to prove. That’s the best case scenario. Worst case scenario, Rose either gets injured again or plays less than 60 games because of swelling, and still, the Knicks come out on top because they’ll have a chance at a lottery pick, with plenty of cap space, in 2017. The absolute worst case scenario, the Knicks sign him to a massive contract extension if he somehow returns to form for an extended period of time.
Knicks fans are irate while Bulls fans are sad; this tells me Phil did good. The Zen Master is the ringmaster of this circus, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
After the trade was announced Wednesday afternoon, Knicks fans were divided. One half felt optimistic and the other half acted as if there were a giant marshmallow man destroying the streets of New York. I, however, am of the youthful wonder and exuberance variety of Knick fan, delusional even. How else would we have gotten through the Isiah Thomas era? Or when we wasted a draft pick on Fredric Weiss instead of taking hometown kid Ron Artest? Or when we were up 3-2 on the Rockets in the ‘94 Finals only to lose Games 6 and 7? To me, this is the only way to follow this team.
They didn't get that we didn't lose any cap space while also dramatically upgrading our point guard play. Now, if the Knicks trading for Rose with three or four years left on his contract or if we immediately sign him to an extension, then the shaking of fists would be warranted. If you feel like this move wasn't the right one to make, you should probably stop commenting on the NBA in regards to front office decisions.
The 2016 NBA free agent class is weak, especially the point guard pool, with Mike Conley and Rajon Rondo the best of the bunch. I personally love Conley and think he would’ve been exactly what the Knicks need. However, the Knicks had other plans. Hornacek is an uptempo coach and needs a lead guard who can push the rock. Conley, for most of his career, has played in a half court, slow-paced offense in Memphis.
So instead of spending half of the $30 million in cap space on a point guard they’re not in love with, New York can now focus on using that same $30 million by replacing Lopez, grabbing some wing players to fill out the rest of the roster, and still have money to burn on players in 2017’s far better free agent class. This is a smart move by Jackson, who, if you let other people tell it, has no clue what he’s doing.
The Knicks have no shot at Kevin Durant, and besides him, no player they sign this offseason will make them instant contenders; Hassan Whiteside, DeMar DeRozan, Conley, and Al Horford aren’t making the Knicks a championship team. At least with Rose, you get a guy in a contract year looking to prove everyone wrong.
The Knicks will be fun to watch this upcoming season with Rose, Melo, and Kristaps Porzingis running Hornacek’s offense; a little excitement in a team that’s trying to reload instead of rebuild. A part of me would like to see them trade Anthony and blow it all up, but this is New York, baby. It’s all about the big lights on Broadway and Rose when has ever shied away from the big moment.
Derrick Rose is far from finished. He’ll never be MVP caliber but he can come close to becoming an All-Star again. Plus, Melo finally gets to play with an above-average point since Chauncey Billups in 2009. With a glaring need being addressed and still having a good amount of room to make some more moves, I’m still struggling to comprehend the issue with this trade. Knicks fans are irate while Bulls fans are sad; this tells me Phil did good. The Zen Master is the ringmaster of this circus, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. This ain’t your daddy’s Knicks.