Derrick Rose is one of the most obvious trade targets on the market. His Detroit Pistons are currently at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, and his expiring contract gives him the power to leave for nothing in free agency when the season ends. He is still a productive player, averaging 14.8 points per game at his standard rate of efficiency, and as a veteran with an MVP pedigree, would immediately garner respect in almost any locker room.
Not surprisingly, that has allowed the Pistons to drum up a fair bit of interest in their veteran point guard. According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, both the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers are interested in adding Rose through a trade.
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The Knicks and Clippers are on opposite ends of the contention spectrum. The Clippers are ranked second in offense. The Knicks are ranked No. 25. The Clippers are a potential Finals teams. The Knicks are just trying to remain competitive. But both teams could use Rose for different reasons.
The Knicks are struggling to generate offense outside of their two leading scorers, RJ Barrett and Julius Randle. While rookie Immanuel Quickley has played well in a limited role, starting point guard Elfrid Payton has struggled mightily on offense. Rose presents an alternative that would give the Knicks an extra dose of ball-handling. His limitations as a shooter wouldn't be ideal on a team taking the fewest 3-pointers in the NBA, but he has played for Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau in both Chicago and Minnesota, so the fit makes some sense on paper.
The Clippers don't have such spacing issues. They are currently shooting over 42 percent on 3-pointers, but are generating only 19.3 shots in the restricted area per game. That's tied for the fewest in basketball, and a downhill driver like Rose could remedy that and take advantage of the Clippers' remarkable shooting. They've long lacked a traditional point guard, a hole Rose could theoretically fill.
The Knicks have the unique advantage of having carried cap space into the season. They can absorb Rose's contract without sending a dollar back to the Pistons, a nice cost-saving measure for a Detroit team that could certainly use the extra cash. The Clippers are in a more complicated situation. They are pressed up against the hard cap and would likely need to include Lou Williams in any deal to make the numbers work. They also lack a tradeable first-round pick, limiting them to second-rounders in this sort of trade. The Knicks can trade a first-round pick, but would likely prefer not to, especially for an aging guard like Rose. Their long-term aspirations outpace their present goals.
The Pistons turned away multiple trade offers for Rose last season but had the insurance of knowing he would still be under contract this season. They no longer have that safety net. That makes Rose one of the veterans likeliest to be dealt this season, and two frontrunners have apparently emerged.