In their efforts to appease LeBron James and convince him not to leave in free agency next summer, the Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly in discussions to add Derrick Rose on a one-year deal as part of their tax-payer mid-level exception. The move makes sense for Cleveland, even if Rose doesn’t address their full needs or really pull them significantly closer to the Warriors.
Rose is still a capable scorer and if he were willing to accept a bench role, could give them a much needed scoring lift that the reserve unit lacked last season. He’s not a defensive stopper by any means and is prone to lapses, but he would be an upgrade from Deron Williams a year ago and is a minor risk on a one-year deal.
However, there’s no guarantee that Rose will choose to join forces with Kyrie Irving and LeBron in Cleveland. According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, the former MVP also met with the Lakers on Thursday as they try to convince him to be their veteran point guard presence after failing to land Rajon Rondo — now in New Orleans.
The Lakers have a bigger chunk of the mid-level to offer Rose, reportedly twice as much as the $2.1 million Cleveland can offer, but with Lonzo Ball’s development the primary focus at point guard, Rose would, like in Cleveland, likely have to accept a more minor role. As ESPN’s Chris Haynes reports, role, not money, will be the primary determining factor for the former MVP.
There are also conflicting reports about the potential interest in a Chicago return for Rose, who left the Bulls for the Knicks last summer. USA Today’s Sam Amick reports Rose’s agent has had contact with Chicago, while The Athletic’s (and former DIME alum) Sean Highkin claims the Bulls have no interest in a reunion with their former star.
The Bulls, now firmly in rebuild mode, seem like a curious landing spot for Rose, but they have cap space and you can never underestimate the Bulls’ front office’s ability to make a head-scratching move to bring in a veteran even when a youth movement is clearly needed. In any case, we can expect a decision on Rose’s next destination within the next few days as he decides whether a title shot in Cleveland is his best bet or being a veteran presence in either L.A. or, less likely, Chicago.