Derrick Rose has been traded.
To the Knicks.
Along with Justin Holiday and a 2nd-round pick, in exchange for Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant.
My first thought when my uncle told me was "I can't believe they did it". Then I thought "there's another GarPax criticism down the tubes".
Forman and Paxson deserve some criticism for many things, no doubt about it. But it has always been said that they won't make a big trade that isn't there just to save Reinsdorf money.
In this trade, they sent out the $22,338,948 in guaranteed money that they owed to Rose and Holiday this season. They took back $22,570,717 in salary for this year, almost equal. But they also took on two more years of Robin Lopez at $28,146,250 guaranteed. As their current starting center, he's worth it.
But this isn't even about money. It's about something bigger, the keys to the team.
"Jimmy's gonna play PG"
"Jimmy's gonna be the go-to guy"
"Jimmy likes playing without Derrick, 27/7/7 in 11 games last season"
Now, it's officially Jimmy's team, in no uncertain terms.
The former MVP isn't an MVP any more. You 'da man, Jimmy.
Did the Bulls give him any help in this trade... on the court, I mean?
Robin isn't nearly the offensive player his brother over in Brooklyn is, but he's an above-average defender, shot-blocker and rebounder. He's fairly athletic and can get up and down the floor and give you a good 25 minutes a night. He just turned 28, and he's 7-foot and 255 with seven years of experience.
He had a 17.6 PER and a .574 TS% last season, and he's just entering his prime. He's going to be a nice piece going forward.
Jose Calderon just might be the starting PG as it stands at this moment. He won't play a lot of defense, which isn't good, but he's a career 41.2% 3-point shooter. That ranks 16th all-time, 8th among active players. The Bulls probably hope he doesn't have to start because of his defense, but he's just such a good fit on offense next to that Butler guy. He was assisted on 87% of his 3's last season, if he gets the spot-up looks that Derrick got last season, he'll knock down 50% of those. The man. Can shoot.
They would probably love to see Jerian Grant become their PG, but I don't see that happening. He didn't show enough last season (in over 1200 minutes) to think that he can even be an NBA player, let alone a starter. But he's 6'4" with a 6'8" wingspan, and has the tools to play defense and be a playmaker, if he works to improve them. Oh, and his shot, which isn't very great right now. At all.
The Bulls had to give up a 2017 2nd-round pick, as well as Justin Holiday, who showed a little promise at the end of last season.
But this trade was all about Rose. The trade rumors had been out there, but usually when it's the Bulls, they always just remain rumors that didn't ever happen.
There were rumblings about how much the Bulls could get for Rose, down to how much they'd have to give up to get him off the roster. Losing Holiday hurts a little, but the Bulls actually got the best player in the trade when they took on Lopez' salary. He played 27.1 minutes (and started all 82 games) for the Knicks last season and gave them 10.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks.
Assuming they keep him (I'm 94.67% sure they will, though it's possible he's moved on draft night), he takes Noah's role on the roster. He won't bring the leadership and ball-handling, but he'll set picks, defend and rebound at a very good level. His presence on the court allows Niko to start and play big minutes at PF. He's the real return for the Bulls in this trade.
Acquiring Calderon and Grant surely doesn't mean they aren't still shopping for a PG... they are. I still don't see any way they don't leave the draft without Vanderbilt's Wade Baldwin, even if they have to move up. His length, ball-handling and shooting make him a perfect fit next to Jimmy long-term, and as I mentioned earlier, there's a small chance the Bulls have to send Lopez to a team with a higher draft pick to ensure they have the chance to draft Baldwin.
I don't see that happening, but I firmly believe the Bulls want Baldwin, and I firmly believe that he'll never be available at #14.
Assuming the Bulls pick up the options on Felicio and Dinwiddie, keep the #14 pick, and Gasol opts out, the team's salary will stand just below $69 million for 13 guaranteed contracts. So just over $25 million in cap space, enough to basically sign any player out there.
And Taj Gibson's $8.95 million expiring contract might be traded, if the Bulls decide not to draft Baldwin and choose a big man instead. Lopez and Niko are going to play about 55-60 minutes. That only leaves about 40 minutes for Felicio and Portis to split, and I think the Bulls would like to see the two young big men be able to give them that much this season.
But they might have to spend in the neighborhood of $10 million to keep E'Twaun Moore, a versatile combo guard whose shooting from 3 (45.2%) and defense make him a real good fit next to that Jimmy guy. And he's a local boy, from East Chicago, so maybe keeping one local product and making him the starting PG takes away some of the sting over losing the MVP local product PG who isn't an MVP any more?
This is about what the Bulls look like right now:
- PG: Calderon, Dinwiddie, Grant, (Moore FA)
- SG: Butler, Snell
- SF: McDermott, Dunleavy
- PF: Mirotic, Gibson, Portis
- C: Lopez, Felicio (Gasol Player Option) (Noah FA)
The Bulls figure to continue to address PG as well as SG/SF in the draft and free agency. It would be nice to be able to count on Tony Snell to give you 3 and D for 10-15 minutes a night as the 10th man, but I'm no longer confident that's going to happen.
The Bulls probably won't be serious players for Harrison Barnes or Nic Batum - as much as the Bulls would love to have one (maybe both) of them, they won't pay what someone is going to offer this summer. An athletic wing who can start at SF, handle the ball and shoot 3's, and play great defense so that McDermott can develop as the #1 option on the 2nd unit, would be the perfect fit for the Bulls.
It's kind of hard to believe Derrick Rose isn't a Bull any more, and it's going to feel really weird for a while.
But it's going to be very exciting seeing what other moves GarPax make to re-tool around Jimmy Butler (with apparently Niko Mirotic as your 2nd option), and it is going to be a very interesting off-season for the Bulls' front office. They need to add more to this team, and they have the cap space and lottery pick to do it.
They certainly fired the first big shot of the offseason.
Goodbye, Derrick, and good luck.