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Derrick Rose Traded to Knicks; Pistons Get Dennis Smith Jr., 2021 2nd-Round Pick

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Derrick Rose #25 of the Detroit Pistons in action against the Washington Wizards during the first half at Capital One Arena on January 20, 2020 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Detroit Pistons traded veteran point guard Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks in exchange for point guard Dennis Smith Jr. and a 2021 second-round pick (via the Charlotte Hornets).

NY_KnicksPR @NY_KnicksPR

.@nyknicks Acquire Derrick Rose https://t.co/eqfBSOwGad

Shams Charania and James Edwards III of The Athletic first reported the deal on Sunday.

The move comes as the Pistons are in the early stages of what looks like a painful rebuild.

Detroit spent big in the offseason, and Jeremi Grant is enjoying a breakout year. However, there's no getting around the fact that the team is last in the Eastern Conference at 5-18. 

Charania and Edwards previously reported Rose and the Pistons "mutually agreed that a trade would be best for both sides." Rose would get to play on a team closer to the playoffs, and Detroit could focus on younger players in the backcourt.

The situation isn't too surprising given how the last few years have unfolded in the Motor City.

Blake Griffin underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee last January. Reggie Jackson also missed a large chunk of 2019-20 because of a stress reaction in his back before getting bought out of his contract.

The Pistons obviously had high hopes when they acquired Griffin in January 2018, but that optimism is gone. Trading Andre Drummond in what amounted to a salary dump ahead of the 2020 deadline showed how the organization was willing to start taking a long-term view of the roster.

Detroit held on to Rose, likely in part because he only counts for $7.7 million against the salary cap. The front office knew it could easily revisit trade negotiations at a later date.

Rose continued to be a productive presence on the court following his bounce-back season with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2018-19. He averaged 18.1 points and 5.6 assists in 50 games. He hit a career-best 49 percent of his field goals, though his 30.6 percent clip from beyond the arc showed his range remains a bit limited.

Through 15 games in 2020-21, he's averaging 14.2 points and 4.2 assists in 22.8 minutes on the floor.

Rose's knee injuries derailed his NBA career, and it looked like he was approaching an unceremonious end in the league following a brutal start to the 2017-18 campaign with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

While his days as an MVP contender are over, his stint with the Timberwolves showed he was back as a dynamic scoring guard. He couldn't hide his emotion following a 50-point performance in a win over the Utah Jazz on Oct. 31, 2018.

The Knicks basically know what they're getting in Rose given his prior stint with the franchise in 2016-17.

He has never hit more than 37 percent of his three-pointers over a full season, and he hasn't adapted his game too much to account for his injuries. According to NBA.com, 42.4 percent of his shot attempts have come within 10 feet of the basket.

Rose's contributions on defense are minimal as well. He ranked 89th among point guards in ESPN's defensive real plus-minus (minus-2.50) in 2019-20.

And his durability will always be a question mark. He was limited to 51 appearances in 2018-19 and was out for 16 games a year ago.

Having said all of that, Rose's scoring and playmaking make him a solid addition to New York's backcourt.

The Knicks' point guard situation has been pretty dire going back a few seasons. The Smith experiment didn't work, and Elfrid Payton's inability to stretch the floor makes him ill-suited to be a starting option.

Immanuel Quickley is showing some promise as a rookie and may prove to be a long-term solution. The franchise doesn't want to put too much pressure on the 21-year-old right away, though.

With the addition of Rose, the Knicks found a short-term stopgap, and there shouldn't be any question as to his fit with head coach Tom Thibodeau since they spent nearly six seasons together with the Chicago Bulls and Timberwolves.

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