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Phil Jackson boldly acquires Derrick Rose

Jaime C. Harris | 6/23/2016, 11:41 a.m.
Who needs a first-round pick?
Derek Rose Contributed

Who needs a first-round pick?

Knicks President Phil Jackson, devoid of a first-round pick in tonight’s NBA Draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to upgrade the team’s deficient roster, took a bold gamble and executed a trade for former league MVP Derrick Rose. It is a risky, yet brilliant, move on the part of Jackson, who desperately needed to fortify the point guard position, which has been the Knicks’ most evident weakness for the better part of the past five seasons.

Jackson obtained the often injured, yet still dynamic, 27-year-old Rose from the Chicago Bulls, as well as guard Justin Holiday and a 2017 second-round pick, in exchange for center Robin Lopez and guards Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant. The Knicks now have a player who can provide scoring, a much-needed legitimate third option next to Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. The trio forms what could be one of the most potent combinations in the Eastern Conference. The Chicago native averaged 16.4 points and 4.7 assists in 66 games in 2015-16. Yet it is his ability to break down defenses and attack the paint, creating more efficient scoring opportunities for Anthony and Porzingis, that is his greatest value.

If Rose stays relatively healthy, the deal is a win-win for both him and the Knicks, with the league’s salary cap increasing substantially next summer. Rose will be a free agent after the 2016-17 season and could now, along with Anthony and Porzingis, be a combination that becomes extremely appealing for other marquee free agents to join.

His acquisition softens the blow to the Knicks and their famished fan base of not having a first-round pick tonight. It was dealt away in 2011 as part of the Carmelo Anthony trade. So when expected top picks Ben Simmons of LSU, Brandon Ingram of Duke and Kris Dunn of Providence march across the Barclays stage to embrace NBA commissioner Adam Silver, Knicks fans will have Derrick Rose on their minds.

Jackson has not only energized Knicks supporters but also infused hope that the team will now elevate itself from a 32-50 record last season to a playoff team that can make a strong move toward residing in the top five of the conference.