The acquisition of point guard Derrick Rose came a week before negotiations with 185 free agents can officially commence, enabling the Knicks to address other areas of concern next week.
The team decided to strike quickly, as it doesn’t have any selections in Thursday’s draft, sending Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant to Chicago in exchange for Rose, Justin Holiday and a second round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
While the move does come with a hefty price tag, as Rose carries a $21.3 million salary next season, there is little risk involved for New York, as only one year remains on his contract.
If Rose simply doesn’t pan out, the Knicks can just let him walk next summer.
If the 27-year-old can return anywhere near the level of play that helped him capture MVP honors in 2011, the Knicks will have an advantage in negotiations next year, as they can offer one additional season to the next deal Rose signs.
The first overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft has averaged 19.7 points, 6.2 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game, but his numbers haven’t approached those figures over the last three years, as he has recovered from numerous knee injuries.
During the past four years, Rose has been limited to just 166 appearances out of a possible 396 games for Chicago after tearing his left ACL, then undergoing a pair of surgeries to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.
In 66 games last season, Rose posted 16.4 points, 4.7 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per game. The most encouraging sign was he never sat out more than three consecutive games.
Only what made Rose one of the premier players in the league was his ability to slash to the rim and finish with authority.
Rose was tied for 16th in drives per game — as he went to the basket 8.9 times a night — but even with the constant attacking of the paint, all of the drives yielded just one dunk all season.
As defenders simply played off of Rose, daring him to shoot the ball, the path to the rim became more congested and scoring the ball became a much more difficult task.
When Rose became just the fifth point guard in league history to be crowned MVP, his ability to not only get the shots he wanted, but finish as well was unmatched.
During the 2010-11 campaign, Rose attempted 584 shots at the rim and converted 60.3 percent of his attempts.
Both figures declined drastically, as the 6-foot-3 guard managed to get to the rim on 314 occasions, but made just 51 percent of his attempts, four percent below the league average.
Rose managed to supplement some of his offense with a potent midrange jumper, as he made 47.6 percent of his shots between 10 and 16 feet away from the rim, but he will have to adjust to playing alongside of a pair of players expected to receive a larger share of the offensive workload.
Relinquishing control of the ball was a challenge last year, as a rift developed between Rose and All-Star shooting guard Jimmy Butler that may have contributed to the rapid announcement of the trade.
Chicago clearly didn’t want to risk losing Rose for nothing in free agency and immediately capitalized on his expiring contract, as the team now has more than $20 million in cap space this summer.
The Bulls have several options now at point guard, with Calderon having plenty of starting experience, Grant looking to improve in his sophomore season, or the team could turn the position over to either Aaron Brooks or E’Twaun Moore.
Chicago has managed to plug in temporary solutions that have thrived in the absence of Rose during the past four seasons.
Point guard depth is going to be an issue in New York, as the team dealt away a pair of point guards then waived Tony Worten, meaning the team will need to round out the roster once free agency begins.
Along with a viable backup for Rose, the team is in need of starters at the center and shooting guard position.
The Knicks will have plenty of work to do in the summer, but the team managed to jumpstart its rebuilding effort with an early move.