WARR contributor Josh Hicks offers his thoughts on the Chicago Bulls and the NBA
One-time Chicago kingpin and hometown favorite Derrick Rose signed a 1-year, 2.1 million dollar contract to play with the reigning Eastern Conference Champions Cleveland Cavaliers in late July.
As a basketball fan who has watched D-Rose from first entering the league to the present, my personal bias kept me from liking the transition move he made at first glance — especially for him signing at such a low price — but when I actually think about Rose’s decision, it makes much sense for him to join who at one point in time was his prime Eastern Conference rival.
D-Rose used to be one the best players in the league, he was the first overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, 2008 Rookie of the Year, a three-time All-Star, youngest to ever win the league MVP at 22 years of age in 2011 and an Olympic gold medalist. But Rose’s uphill rise abruptly became a far-flung fall over the past few years with health issues, including multiple major knee surgeries.
Due to those injuries it has been tough for Rose to stay healthy throughout an entire season, which along with the Bulls’ abandon ship trade of him to the Knicks in 2016 is why his market in free agency drastically plummetted in time for this year’s offseason frenzy.
But for the Cavs to show interest in Rose, you can argue it may be all the confidence Rose needs to once again make an impact league-wide playing for a long-term contender.
If Rose stays healthy, the Cavs may potentially have one of the biggest free agent steals in the pool. Last season with the Knicks Rose was not the old Rose, but he was still effective, averaging 18 points, 4 assists and rebounds, while shooting 47 percent from the field.
By signing with the Cavs, Rose is getting his ultimate goal of winning and playing for a championship contender. Starting or not, running the court with King James puts him in a safe position to go far in the East, and it provides his best chance yet to make it to the NBA Finals since most the East’s firepower went out to the West this offseason. Most importantly, playing with the King can revitalize his career.
With the 28 year-old’s NBA career now on edge, Rose’s injury availability has to be exemplary once again to receive another chance at starting and at big money after next season. King James has always been about taking care of his body and can lead Rose by example in taking care of his body for the long season. James is also known to get the best out of his players, and if he gets the best out of Rose, we might be seeing a lot more glimpses going forward of the dearly-missed MVP Chicago once swore by.
If Rose’s play does not level up to Cleveland’s expectations, it can be the virtual end of Rose’s NBA career, and it will not hurt the Cavs’ pockets financially at all, but assuming Rose excels in the King’s court, he would provide a dimension of firepower that Cleveland was lacking even at its best.
Now, of course, Kyrie Irving’s drama has heated up “The Land,” but it only provides an element of what should be well-recieved flexibility for Rose.
If Irving leaves, D-Rose can take his experience as a starting point guard role and become an efficient sidekick to the king. He may not be close to Irving’s impact at this point but he is a solid piece that can help get the Cavs over the hump into the Eastern Conference Finals and potentially a fourth trip back to the Finals.
If Irving stays, Rose can serve as the athletic backup that can keep Cleveland’s motor rolling and can essentially be the second-team offensive play-making spark that James lacked for almost the entirety of his career.
I wish D-Rose did not get so low-balled for his talent, as there are other players less talented and accomplished than Rose recently getting mega million dollar deals. However, competively this deal was a win-win for the Cavs and the former MVP and can ultimately change the state of the East and the upcoming NBA Finals.
Joshua M. Hicks is a Chicago-based sports writer and broadcaster, follow him on Twitter @jhicks042; Follow We Are Regal Radio on Twitter @regalradio1 and on Facebook under We Are Regal Radio