If The Chicago Bulls Executed A Derrick Rose Trade, Where Would He Go?
Could Derrick Rose end up playing for a team other than the Chicago Bulls at some point?
It may be hard to imagine, but at least that was something former Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy implied when he was interviewed on AM-740's "The Game" in Orlando.
"I think Derrick Rose is a great, great representative of our league, and he's a great player," Van Gundy said. "And he's got good players around him, very good players around him, but if (the Bulls) can't get another star there for him is he eventually going to look around and say, 'Hey, I've got to work this out on my own and I've got to find somehow to get somewhere else so that I will have a chance to play with another star.' The league has changed."
Indeed it has. One could argue that the trend of superstars playing with other superstars started with Shaquille O'Neal's departure from the Orlando Magic to the Los Angeles Lakers. It continued with the formation of a "Big Three" in both Boston and Miami and most recently - a la O'Neal - Dwight Howard's move from Orlando to the Los Angeles, in effect teaming up with Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash.
Rose, who tore his ACL in his left knee during the Bulls' first playoff game against the Philadelphia 76ers last season, has said that he plans to stay in Chicago for his entire career. He signed a five-year maximum contract extension before last season worth over $90 million.
However, let's play hypothetical.
We don't know exactly in reality when Rose will demand a trade, but let's just say he made his demands to Bulls management today. He doesn't feel he can win with the crew he has around him and wants to start fresh somewhere else once he returns from rehabbing. He wants that other superstar that can complement his game and propel him to a coveted NBA title.
So, where could he possibly go by next year's trade deadline?
Well, he could go anywhere, but it wouldn't make sense to go to a team with an established point guard already, such as Boston, which has Rajon Rondo. Other teams include the Brooklyn Nets (Deron Williams), Cleveland Cavaliers (Kyrie Irving), Los Angeles Clippers (Chris Paul), Los Angeles Lakers (Steve Nash), Milwaukee Bucks (Brandon Jennings), Oklahoma City Thunder (Russell Westbrook), San Antonio Spurs (Tony Parker) and Washington Wizards (John Wall).
The Houston Rockets, Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves don't have established point guards like the teams above, but they do have point guards they seem to be committed to, which would eliminate them as possible destinations. Houston gave Jeremy Lin a huge contract, probably not to sit on the bench. Minnesota has seen success and excitement with Ricky Rubio despite his season-ending injury last year. And, Miami has proven they could win even with an average to above-average Mario Chalmers calling the shots (at least when LeBron isn't).
Hypothetically, Rose wants to play alongside someone of his caliber, right? Then that eliminates teams that are void of a superstar, which include the Charlotte Bobcats, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Orlando Magic, New Orleans Hornets, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors.
Now, just nine possible destinations are left, each with one established or budding superstar. Nevertheless, not all have the pieces necessary to give away, and, if they do, they still may not remain a contending team even with Rose:
- The Atlanta Hawks don't have a tier 1 superstar. Luckily, they do have a plethora of point guards to give away other than Jeff Teague. However, they would most likely also have to part with a tier 2 superstar, either Josh Smith, who has been involved in past trade rumors, or Al Horford.
- The Denver Nuggets' closest superstar is Andre Iguodala. That means Ty Lawson goes along with Danilo Gallinari/Kenneth Faried, one other player and picks.
- The Indiana Pacers don't have a tier 1 superstar either. The closest to it is arguably Danny Granger. As a result, some combination of he or up-and-comer Paul George, a point guard such as George Hill or D.J. Augustin, a complimentary player and first-round picks would have to go.
- The Philadelphia 76ers have to give up Jrue Holiday, Thaddeus Young/Evan Turner, another player and picks. The roster will be depleted.
- The Utah Jazz would need to trade either of their tier 2 guys Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors, point guard Mo Williams and picks.
- LaMarcus Aldridge is the man for the Portland Trail Blazers. The team just drafted Damian Lillard, who it would probably be hard-pressed to let go. Nicolas Batum just signed a new deal, too.
- The Dallas Mavericks, besides Dirk Nowitzki, are just too old and unproven to make a move via trade for now.
Of the six teams outlined above, Indiana may have the best chance of survival after acquiring Rose not only because of Roy Hibbert and Paul George or Danny Granger, whoever would stay, but also the team's recent playoff experiences. At the same time, Chicago may very well totally refuse to trade Rose to a division rival.
That leaves us with just two teams: The New York Knicks and Memphis Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies' core is comprised of Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Big men are scarce nowadays so either Gay or Randolph would have to depart. Mike Conley would also likely depart plus another player and some picks. As a result, the new core would be Rose, Gay/Randolph and Gasol, which doesn't make Memphis worse.
The Knicks, on the other hand, have two superstars in Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire who can leave. As a result, a chance for a two-team trade between them and Chicago is more likely. And, no matter if Anthony or Stoudemire go, the Bulls can take advantage of the trade exception they received in trading Kyle Korver to the Hawks and absorb any salary that might render a trade void.
A one-on-one trade of Rose for Stoudemire/Anthony could work, in theory, but the Knicks would most likely want another player besides Rose in order to fill the gap in position left behind. Luckily for the Knicks, Taj Gibson can fill either the small forward or power forward position. Should Anthony leave, the Knicks can use Gibson, Ronnie Brewer or Steve Novak to substitute. Yet, if Stoudemire goes, Gibson is likely the starting power forward.
The Bulls could use a veteran like Jason Kidd to mentor their first-round draft pick, point guard Marquis Teague.
Remember, that all the scenarios played out above occur from now until next year's Feb. 21 trade deadline. Rose may never get traded this year, next year or as long as he is in the NBA. If he does, it could be to a small market team, much like the Grizzlies, who have saved up enough money and acquired enough talent to do so.
Or, then again, Rose can just wait until his current deal with Chicago is up in 2017 and sign another megadeal.
All this only Rose himself knows.
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