Knicks agree to trade with Pistons for PG Derrick Rose

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Ian Begley
·3 min read
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Derrick Rose slices through defenders on way to the basket in Pistons white uniform
Derrick Rose slices through defenders on way to the basket in Pistons white uniform

The Knicks and Pistons have agreed to a deal that will send Derrick Rose to New York in exchange for Dennis Smith Jr. and a 2021 second-round pick via the Charlotte Hornets, league sources confirm.

Some with the Pistons were looking to acquire Kevin Knox in a Rose trade but, as of Saturday, New York hadn’t been open to including him in the deal, per SNY sources.

New York was open to moving Smith in the trade, but Detroit wasn’t open to taking just him back as the only asset in the deal, sources said.

The Athletic first reported Sunday that New York and Detroit were in advanced talks on a Rose trade that included Smith Jr. and draft compensation. It remains to be seen which pick – or picks – are sent to Detroit in the deal.

As of Saturday, New York had been unwilling to include a first-round pick in the trade, per sources. It would be surprising if the Knicks included a first in a trade for Rose, who will be a free agent this summer. So it’s logical to assume New York will send a future second round pick – or picks – to Detroit for Rose.

Frank Ntilikina was also a player discussed in trade talks between the Knicks and Pistons, per SNY sources.

WINNING GAMES

This is obvious, but some with the Knicks see acquiring Rose as a chance to win more games this season. Entering play Sunday, New York was in sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

If and when the trade goes through, it will be interesting to see how head coach Tom Thibodeau adjusts his rotations.

It would be short-sighted, in my opinion, if Rose took opportunities away from rookie Immanuel Quickley. He has far exceeded expectations thus far in his rookie season.

Thibodeau has said that playing Quickley and starting point guard Elfrid Payton together is something he’d like to try. So it’s possible that Rose’s arrival doesn’t impact Quickley’s role or opportunity. But Rose will take minutes away from at least one player in the current rotation.

Something worth noting: At least one team in contention for the playoffs expressed some interest in acquiring Payton via trade. Payton has a no-trade clause.

ROSE AND THIBS BACK TOGETHER

Rose has long been a favorite of Thibodeau, who coached him in Chicago and Minnesota. Rose was Rookie of the Year and an MVP under Thibodeau.

The Knicks, of course, traded for Rose in 2016 under then team president Phil Jackson; the move didn’t work out well for either side. The Knicks struggled on the court and Rose drew criticism for leaving the team prior to a game without explanation. New York opted against re-signing Rose.

Rose, 32, obviously is at a different point in his career now. He has talked about embracing his role as a mentor to young Pistons guard Killian Hayes.

He can certainly help the Knicks score points, something they’ve struggled to do during stretches this season.

As for Smith Jr., he requested to move to the G League after being out of Thibodeau’s rotation. Smith may see his playing time change in Detroit. He’s scored just nine points on 10 shots with three assists, three steals and two rebounds. Smith Jr. was acquired in the Kristaps Porzingis trade with the Mavericks. He was the best player New York received in the deal, which also returned two future first-round picks and created cap space for New York.

RE-SIGN ROSE?

If the Knicks acquire Rose, it’s reasonable to assume they have plans to re-sign him. If New York trades for Rose, they will have his early bird rights.

So they could sign him to a 2-4 year deal with a starting salary of up to $13.4 million. If they wanted to re-sign him to a one-year deal, they could do so for up to $9.2 million. New York projects to have significant cap space in the 2021 offseason.