The Cavs have been desperately trying to find ways to make improvements this offseason, but to this point have failed to bring in much help for LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love. They weren’t able to work out trades for either Paul George or Jimmy Butler this summer — which would’ve involved shipping off Love — and limited cap space have prevented them from signing any free agents of significant consequence so far.
There aren’t many players remaining on the market that could be big splash signings for Cleveland, who need players willing to take minimums to join. However, there is apparently one former MVP that could do just that, and — the Cavs hope — salvage their offseason.
According to Brian Windhorst and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Derrick Rose is in discussions with Cleveland to sign a one-year deal to join James and the Cavaliers.
A deal for Rose would likely use the remainder of the tax-payer mid-level exception. $3.2 million of the $5.2 million exception was used on bringing over Cedi Osman, meaning Rose would get a deal worth approximately $2 million. However, the total cost, including the repeater tax penalty, of Rose’s deal would be approximately $14 million, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
The Cavs can’t offer Rose a significant salary, but after having his rights waived by the Knicks to sign Tim Hardaway Jr. and failing to reach a deal with Milwaukee, Rose appears ready to give a title run a shot in Cleveland on the cheap. The question is how much can Rose really help the Cavaliers in their quest to catch up to the Warriors and win another title.
Rose can still score. He proved that last year with the Knicks, averaging 18 points per game in New York, but he’s not a defensive stalwart that’s going to be able to come in and offer significant help on that end against Steph Curry or Klay Thompson. Rose would certainly be an upgrade over Deron Williams, who was almost unplayable against the Warriors as the Cavaliers’ backup point guard last Finals, and, if he stayed healthy, would give the Cavaliers at least some kind of scoring punch off the bench in the backcourt.
That said, Rose isn’t the player he once was, many surgeries ago. The Cavaliers are desperate to send the message to LeBron that they are still trying to compete and do everything they can to win. Rose likely doesn’t move the needle a ton, but in a cap crunch like Cleveland’s, he might be the best they can do with what is presently on the market.