It may seem odd to conjure up trade ideas for the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose.
Since Chicago used the No. 1 overall pick on him in the 2008 NBA Draft, Rose has been its starting point guard. Even during the 200-plus games he’s missed due to injury, whoever played the position in his stead was merely a placeholder.
But time may have elapsed on this once title-contending core. The Bulls are comfortably over .500 this season, but their Net Rating puts them right in the middle of the league and they’ve played significantly better when Rose is off the floor (Net Rating of plus-3.8, compared to minus-0.7 with him).
Much of Fred Hoiberg’s offense is predicated on shooting and activity off the ball, two things that have never been considered a strength for Rose.
This season, he has an effective field goal percentage (which combines all attempts into one number, adding value for threes) of 39 percent and a usage rate of 25.1. Prior to 2015-16, only one player in the three-point era qualified for the minutes leaderboard, had a usage over 25 and an eFG% under 40:
Hard as it is to imagine, the Bulls could be a better team without Rose. It’s time for them to look around the league to see if anyone might take a flyer on the once promising, former MVP point guard.
NEW YORK KNICKS
This one’s probably the longest shot of the bunch, especially given the offseason rumblings that the New York Knicks might trade Carmelo Anthony, strip down the rebuild a bit more and save some money.
But a better-than-expected start for the team (14-17) and rookie Kristaps Porzingis (averaging 17 points and 11 rebounds per 36 minutes) might have the Knicks thinking about shoring up their lineup and making a push for one of the last couple postseason berths in the East.
The spot that’s in the most immediate need of an upgrade is point guard. And while Rose isn’t technically an upgrade over Jose Calderon at the moment, the Knicks might feel like they can rekindle the old fire (remember, these deals are assuming teams are willing to take a flyer).
For the Bulls, this deal saves them almost $10 million in salary over the next two seasons and gives them the wing they’re reportedly after in Afflalo.
Yes, it does leave a hole at point guard, but at least it takes the negative out of the lineup, and Chicago has replacement-level players (Kirk Hinrich and Aaron Brooks) it can plug in until the team finds Hoiberg’s next point guard.
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
This is an “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine kind of deal. Omer Asik’s contract might be one of the only ones in the NBA that’s worse than Rose’s. Chicago absorbing that deal should warrant the addition of a solid asset, which is what Eric Gordon’s expiring contract is.
Gordon’s injury prone and hasn’t had an above-average PER since the 2012-13 season, but he’s a career 38 percent three-point shooter and has played nearly a quarter of his minutes in New Orleans at point guard.
Chicago could experiment for the remainder of Gordon’s last year, trying a Gordon/Jimmy Butler backcourt or a Butler/Gordon wing combo with Brooks or Hinrich at the point.
Asik’s contract will likely haunt the Bulls for its duration, but arguably the best stretch of his career were those first two years as a defensive specialist off Chicago’s bench. With Joakim Noah coming off the books this summer, Asik could reassume that role for 15-20 minutes a night.
For the Pelicans, this is a swing for the fences, but not one on a two-strike count.
If Rose comes anywhere near his old form (let’s face it, he’s not getting all the way back), great. Anthony Davis and a re-invigorated Rose could make for some fun pick-and-roll action. If Rose continues to play the way he has this season, it likely means more losses for the already struggling Pelicans, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing given the upcoming Ben Simmons sweepstakes.
This is another swap of terrible contracts, though Chicago comes to this bargaining table with the worse of the two. It’s not that Rose has been much worse as a player, but Johnson’s deal expires this summer:
Brooklyn can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and acquiring Rose could delay the opportunity to start fresh. But the Nets have been seduced by big names more than once during the Mikhail Prokhorov/Billy King era. A couple of renaissance games sprinkled in this season might be enough to convince Brooklyn to buy low and attempt to rehabilitate Rose.
Chicago’s end of this deal is mostly about Johnson’s expiring contract (pay an extra $4 million this season for the opportunity to get out from under Rose’s deal).
If Johnson suddenly rediscovers his three-point stroke while enjoying the extra space that would come as a result of playing opposite Butler as opposed to Bojan Bogdanovic or Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, wonderful.
Andy Bailey is on Twitter @AndrewDBailey.