Chicago Bulls trade Derrick Rose, draft pick to Knicks for center, 2 guards
The Chicago Bulls and the now-traded Derrick Rose, once the unquestioned face of the franchise, had been growing apart for years.
Obviously, the breakup began when Rose suffered a torn ACL in his left knee late in the first playoff game of 2012. The following season, the Bulls were ready for their star to return, but Rose wasn't.
Once he did come back for the start of the 2013-14 season, Rose lasted just 10 games before tearing cartilage in his right knee. Meanwhile, the Bulls went to the playoffs twice without him, even won a first-round series.
When Rose finally returned as a full-time employee, the comet had fizzled. He wasn't the same player as he endured nagging injuries and made a couple of statements that had both teammates and fans shaking their heads.
First he talked about how the reason he misses games was because he doesn't want to limp into business meetings or his son's graduation.
Then before last season he decided to mention how much he was looking forward to a potential huge payday when becoming a free agent in 2017.
Both comments seemed to be poor decisions that didn't reflect his true dedication to his craft.
Teammates genuinely liked Rose as a person and appreciated the work he put in to recover from his injuries, but they were tired of the drama, tired of wondering whether he was in or out of the lineup. Some thought he was soft.
So the two sides officially parted ways Wednesday.
In a move that had been rumored but still came as a surprise, the Bulls sent Rose to the New York Knicks, along with guard Justin Holiday and a 2017 second-round pick. In return, the Bulls get center Robin Lopez, young point guard Jerian Grant and aging point guard Jose Calderon.
Rose is done after eight years with the Bulls. He helped lead them to three playoff series victories, the NBA's best regular-season record twice, and he won the MVP award in 2010-11.
It was disappointing, for sure. But no one can deny Rose provided some of the best non-Michael Jordan moments in franchise history.
Whether this trade makes the Bulls a better team is questionable. With his injury history and one more year left on his contract at $21 million, there wasn't much of a trade market for Rose, that much is clear.
"This wasn't a financial deal; this was a basketball deal," said Bulls general manager Gar Forman on Wednesday at the Advocate Center. "We like the players that are coming back to us."
After missing the playoffs last season, the Bulls' management team of Forman and John Paxson knew they had to make some bold moves this summer. There have been rumors of a Jimmy Butler trade, but that move made less sense. Butler is a two-time all-star who still has room to improve.
There was never any real friction between Rose and Butler. But their on-court chemistry wasn't great because both are isolation players who like to control the ball. Maybe it could have worked if both players stuck around, but the Bulls chose to move on.
Call it Butler's team now if you want. He is their best player and would have brought back more in a trade. But in the NBA you win with stars, and trading Butler for role players and draft picks didn't make sense.
"We felt this deal fit at this time, with the plan and the process we've got moving forward, and that's why we made the decision to go through with it," Forman said.
"Listen, Derrick's going to have a very good year. We're very confident of that and we wish Derrick nothing but the best. I hope he has a terrific year. But at the end of the day we had to make a decision we felt was the best for us."
One conclusion that can be drawn from this deal is the Bulls expect Joakim Noah to leave this summer as a free agent.
In Lopez, 28, they got a similar style player who is three years younger and under contract for three more years. Lopez is due to make $13.2 million this season with small raises to follow.
Last year with the Knicks, Lopez averaged 10.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks, while shooting 54 percent from the field and 79.5 percent at the foul line.
Noah at his peak is a better player. But considering Noah's injury problems the past two years, Lopez looks to be a better asset today.
And now the Bulls won't have to count on trying to land a free-agent center in an unpredictable environment.
The NBA's salary cap is expected to soar to $94 million in July, which means every team in the league will have loads of money to spend.
"I wouldn't say (Noah won't be back)," Forman said. "It might change the dynamics some. I don't know. Free agency doesn't start until July 1.
"I think everybody here knows how much we value Joakim and how much Joakim has brought to the table for this organization and this team. When July 1 hits, we'll sit down and Joakim and his representatives. Obviously, he has options. We have options."
The Bulls also figure to lose Pau Gasol in free agency but still have Taj Gibson under contract. Cristiano Felicio also will be back after a promising finish to last season.
Grant is another key part of this trade, but the Bulls probably are not planning to turn over the offense to the second-year pro who averaged 5.6 points and 2.3 assists last season. The Notre Dame product is the nephew of former Bull Horace Grant and son of Horace's twin brother Harvey.
Calderon turns 35 in September and is well on the downside of a long career. Forman spoke positively about Calderon, but a contract buyout wouldn't be a surprise.
As far as the state of the Bulls, Forman tried to pump up the young nucleus of Butler, Doug McDermott, Nikola Mirotic, Felicio, the No. 14 draft pick, along with Lopez and Grant. They're trying to create a high-scoring style for coach Fred Hoiberg, and Rose usually didn't push the tempo the way Hoiberg wanted.
"I wouldn't call it a rebuild. I guess I would call it a retool," Forman said. "We like a lot of the players we like on this roster."
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Meet the newest Bulls
Robin Lopez (7-0, 255) Career: 8 seasons in NBA with Phoenix (2008-12), New Orleans (2012-13), Portland (2013-15) and the Knicks (2015-16).
Last season: 10.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.57 bpg and 1.4 apg in 27.1 mpg. Also ranked second in league in offensive rebounds (268) and ninth in blocks (129).
Jose Calderon (6-3, 200) Career: Has played 11 years with stops at Toronto (2005, 2013), Detroit (2012-13), Dallas (2013-14) and New York (2014-16).
Last season: Averaged 7.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg and 4.2 apg in 28.1 mpg.
Jerian Grant (6-4, 198)Career: Was 19th overall pick in the 2015 draft out of Notre Dame by Washington and then traded to New York via Atlanta.
Last season: Played in 76 games as a rookie and averaged 5.6 ppg, 1.9 rpg and 2.3 apg (eighth among rookies) in 16.6 mpg.
Derrick Rose timelineJune 26, 2008: Bulls select Derrick Rose with the No. 1 overall pick of the NBA Draft.
Oct. 28, 2008: Rose makes professional debut with 11 points and 9 assists in a win over Milwaukee at the United Center.
April 18, 2009: Rose scores 36 points at Boston in his playoff debut.
May 3, 2011: Rose becomes the first Bulls player besides Michael Jordan to be named MVP of the league. He was also the youngest MVP in NBA history at the time.
May 6, 2011: Rose scores career-high 44 points in Game 3 of a second-round playoff series at Atlanta.
Dec. 22, 2011: Bulls announce a five-year, $94.8 million extension for Rose, the largest deal in team history at the time.
April 28, 2012: Rose tears the ACL in his left knee late in a first-round playoff game against Philadelphia. The injury will keep him sidelined for the entire 2012-13 season.
Nov. 22, 2013: In the 11th game of the 2013-14 season, Rose tears meniscus cartilage in his right knee and is sidelined for the rest of the year.
Feb. 25, 2015: Rose has arthroscopic surgery to slice loose cartilage from his right knee and misses 20 games.
Dec. 18, 2015: Rose scores 34 points against Detroit in a four-overtime loss at the United Center, matching his highest point total after the knee surgeries.
April 4, 2016: Rose plays his last game for the Bulls, scoring 10 points in a win over Cleveland at the United Center.
June 22, 2016: With one year left on his contract, Rose is traded to the New York Knicks.
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