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  • John Aiello

Diary of a Mad Knicks Fan

*Photo via NJcom

The New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls “Megadeal” involving homegrown Bulls point guard Derrick Rose being traded to the Knicks, has caused NBA experts to scratch their head in wonderment as it seems the Knicks yet again traded for a guy 4 years too late.

As a Knicks fan, I was pleased with the trade at first, but I’ve gone back and forth a million times since my initial reaction. Initially, the idea of getting a former MVP and a player who can actually get to the rim excited me (the Knicks basically get zero layups per game), but giving up a promising young player in Jerian Grant as well as a solid defensive minded center in Robin Lopez hurts. Beyond that, there is the obvious injury history with Rose that makes me uneasy.

Rose has played in just 166 games in the last 5 years. That’s 40 percent of a possible 410 games. He seemed to be trended upward this past year as he played in 66 games and averaged 16.4 points and just under 5 assists while shooting a dreadful 44.8 effective field goal percentage. This makes me optimistic, then I remember that Rose could be one knee injury away from being out of the league.

*Photo via USA Today

There is the possibility that Rose will be able to bring in former teammates like Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah, or other notable players like DeMar Derozan or Al Horford, they will surely have more attractive offers on the table. I’m not sure that the trio of Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis and Derrick Rose is enticing enough to lure these guys away from the likes of the San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors, and so-on.

I’m not even going to mention Kevin Durant, any shot of landing him is a pipe dream, only realistic Knicks fans know that.

Despite all of the pessimism in my mind, there’s something in me that gets a thrill with moves like these. I guess the years of horrendous trades like when we gave up a first rounder for Andrea Bargnani or when we sold the farm for Carmelo Anthony, a guy who would be a free agent about 6 months after the date the deal was initiated, has failed to learn me of these past mistakes.

But, this deal is different from those in the past. Knicks President Phil Jackson, though he hasn’t been perfect, has been much smarter than prior Knicks GMs. He’s failed to give up any first round draft picks throughout his tenure, which is incredibly crucial for a team that has missed out on so many drafts recently due to carelessly throwing in draft picks in trades in order to “win now”. In addition to that, he hired a competent NBA coach that fits today’s game in Jeff Hornacek and drafted Kristaps Porzingis a year ago.

Years and years of absolutely idiotic transactions have hampered the Knicks and it’s going to be a process in order to get the team back on track. The only real move I can point to and say, “Wow, that was horrible”, was the trade for Jose Calderon.

*Photo via Getty Images

People are criticizing the move to acquire Rose by saying that this is a typical Knicks move, but I disagree. Jerian Grant has some upside, but at best he projects as a backup point guard on a good team. And I really liked Robin Lopez this year: His wild hair, deadly sweeping hook shot, and hilarious interactions with opposing team’s mascots impressed me.

That being said, Lopez can be replaced easily this summer as there are number of much better NBA centers available and Porzingis’ surprisingly impressive shot blocking ability may allow him to be the team’s starting center going forward if he can put on some weight. Also, Rose is a solid NBA player on an expiring deal who will surely help the Knicks this year more than Lopez and Grant, assuming he is healthy. Even if he craps the bed this year, you don’t have to worry about him handicapping the team’s salary as he’s only signed for this season.

I don’t love this trade by any means, but it makes sense for the Knicks. The team’s upside is much higher with Rose rather than Lopez and Grant. If the Knicks can use this trade to pick up additional pieces this summer, they might be a pretty good NBA team. Sadly, they are still far away from being a championship contender.

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