Could DRose be headed to the defending champs? The NBA season hasn’t even been done for a week and the rumor mill is already swirling anew.
One league GM told me a potential Lakers-Pistons deal for Derrick Rose, which never got off the ground last year, makes a lot more sense with Detroit going into full rebuild and the Lakers eager to bulk up a now-depleted backcourt.— Sean Deveney (@SeanDeveney) October 18, 2020
“I think both sides were reluctant when they went into in January, February,” one general manager told Heavy.com. “I don’t think the Lakers wanted to make a major move because they thought they could do something on the buyout market. And I don’t think the Pistons wanted to make a major move because Derrick was happy there. You know, the Lakers wanted to be involved in case the Clippers got involved or someone else, the Bucks or the Nuggets, whoever. So there was interest but not too serious. Now, everything has shifted a little. Now, they’re both in a position to where a deal is much more likely now.”
So what’s different now? For starters, there are reports that Rajon Rondo will opt-out of his contract with the Lakers, leaving a void of valuable point guard minutes coming off the bench. Add in reports that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will opt-out of his contract as well, and Los Angeles will have to rebuild their backcourt a bit to defend their title.
Deveney says the Lakers could bring back one, or both of those players, but that it could be tricky.
“It is possible that Rondo comes back, if he can accept a one-year deal,” said Deveney. “Caldwell-Pope is a trickier proposition because he warrants a longer contract and the Lakers would be reluctant to give him one.”
That still doesn’t answer how the Lakers can make a move for Rose, however.
“Kuzma could be the answer,” Deveney said. “With Kuzma slated to hit restricted free agency next offseason, the Lakers will be more willing to move him. L.A. is hopeful of keeping its cap space clear for the 2021 free-agent market and signing Kuzma to a deal beyond his rookie contract would eat into that space and hurt L.A.’s chance of landing a free agent like Giannis Antetokounmpo or Bradley Beal.”
Rose has played with LeBron James before, back in 2017 with the Cavaliers, so there’s familiarity between the two players. Joining the Lakers would also give Rose his best shot at winning a championship since his time with the Bulls.