The 2021-22 NBA regular season wraps up next week, with just a handful of games for each franchise to play before the play-in tournament…
In the last few days rumours have linked Derrick Rose with a potential move to the Los Angeles Lakers. Bearing that in mind, how could the Lakers, the Pistons and Derrick Rose benefit from a potential trade involving the 32-year-old veteran?
Los Angeles Lakers
The 2019-20 season was magical for the Lakers. They had the best record in the west and a dominant post-season performance, culminating with their 17th NBA title, tying the Boston Celtics for most championships in NBA history and honouring Kobe Bryant’s legacy.
Despite the success, their season was far from being flawless. The roster was not able to provide a solid third option that could step up when LeBron James or Anthony Davis struggled in the regular in season, which led to poor performances in the bubble before the playoffs started.
During the post-season, Rajon Rondo and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope came up big and enabled the Lakers to secure the championship. However, both Rondo and KCP are set to opt out of their contracts and leave Los Angeles as well as Dwight Howard, who is an unrestricted free agent and is linked with a potential move to the Warriors.
Taking this into account, Derrick Rose would be a suitable option to give the Lakers the much-needed roster depth in the wild west. Needless to say that D-Rose is past his prime, but he put up some solid numbers for Detroit last season: 18.1 points per game (PPG) and 5.6 assists per game (APG).
Those are his best numbers since the 2011-12 season, in which he played only 39 games, compared to 50 games in 2019-20. One could argue it was his best season since his MVP days.
Moreover, chemistry shouldn’t be a problem, as they played together in Cleveland back in 2017, and even though Rose had locker room problems and did not play much for the Cavaliers, his relationship with LeBron is good. The King already stated that the former MVP is often “misunderstood”.
Financially the Lakers wouldn’t have any problems as well, because Rose’s contract is not that expensive – around US$7.5 million (A$10.5 million) for one year – and the reigning champs are set to clear cap space with Rondo and KCP leaving.
In a nutshell, D-Rose would a tremendous signing for the LA Lakers in every aspect.
Much like the Orlando Magic, the Pistons are stuck in limbo. They have a decent roster that might clinch the eighth seed in the east, but that will certainly be dominated in the first round of the playoffs. The Derrick Rose-Blake Griffin duo has struggled with injuries and simply isn’t able to lead the Pistons to a better position in the Eastern Conference.
Their young core has some solid performers, such as Luke Kennard, Svi Mykhailiuk and Christian Wood, who is a free agent and has shown signs that he wishes to leave, but it needs more talent to succeed. Thus the Pistons must start reshaping their roster, and trading D-Rose could help their rebuilding process.
The Los Angeles Lakers roster isn’t exactly young – in fact it is one of the oldest in the league behind the Houston Rockets – but that doesn’t mean that the reigning champs haven’t got any young talent.
Kyle Kuzma, who has been linked with the Pistons, Talen Horton-Tucker and Devontae Cacok are young players with huge potential and could have more playing time in Detroit. Any of those players (or even all of them) could be involved in a deal that would send Rose to LA.
To sum up, the Pistons would also benefit from this trade because it could trigger a desperately needed rebuilding process.
As it was mentioned before, the MVP-calibre Derrick Rose is in the past and he is simply not able to lead a franchise anymore. On the other hand, it is fair to say that he bounced back since moving to Minnesota, having some solid performances in Detroit as well.
No-one would dispute how good D-Rose was in his prime, and he certainly deserves a ring to complete his redemption narrative. Thus moving to the current champions and arguably favourites to repeat would be the best move for the former MVP.