Manny Pacquiao vs Jeff Horn Odds – Pacquiao Favored Big

manny-pacquiao-jeff-horn-oddsThis is definitely going to be a summer for big fights.

Floyd Mayweather and Connor McGregor agreed to an August 26 bout, while Manny Pacquiao and Australia’s Jeff Horn will fight on July 1.

The WBO Welterweight champ Pacquiao is favored big on the betting lines. But Horn is looking for an upset during the “Battle of Brisbane” in his home country. That said, let’s look at the odds and discuss if Horn has a chance to beat his favored opponent.

Pacquiao vs Horn Odds & Fight Details

When: July 1, 2017 at 10:00pm EST
Where: Suncorp Stadium Brisbane, Australia
GTBets.eu Line: Jeff Horn +425 vs Manny Pacquaiao -667

Pacquiao Has a Big Experience Edge

manny-pacquiao-2017-oddsThis isn’t Jeff Horn’s first rodeo because he’s 29 years old and has compiled a 16-0-1 record. He definitely has some punching power – as evidenced by 11 KOs – and he’s the WBO Inter-Continental title holder.

However, he steps into a totally different world when facing Pacquiao. The 38-year-old Philippino fighter boasts a 59-6-2 record, and this is his third time holding the WBO Welterweight belt.

After dropping a 12-round unanimous decision to Floyd Mayweather on May 2, 2015, he’s won two straight fights against Timothy Bradley and Jesse Vargas. Pac Man hasn’t delivered a knockout in six straight fights, but he’s almost assured to win if the fight goes the distance.

Horn Looking to Channel Márquez KO

Pacquiao’s greatest career rival is Juan Manuel Márquez. The pair fought four times, with Pacquiao taking the series 2-1-1. But the last fight on Dec 8, 2012 saw Márquez deliver a knockout win.

jeff-horn-vs-pacquiaoHorn has been reviewing tapes of the Mexican’s victory over Pacquaio and wants to bring some of the same tactics to the July 1 fight.

“He does leave himself open a little bit, as he was seen to do with Marquez in the fight where he got knocked out,” Horn told On the Ropes Boxing.

“I will be trying to get him with that same shot if I possibly can. I’m working on all of the strategies and trying to see what’s going to work best on the night, but you don’t know until you step in there.”

For what it’s worth, Australian boxing legend Jeff Fenech believes that Horn is ready to pull off a shocker.

“He’s bigger, stronger, younger, he can punch, and he wants it more than Manny Pacquiao,” Fenech wrote on Boxing Scene.

He also believes that Pacquiao’s success will make him less hungry.

“Anyone who thinks Manny’s hungry, of course — $8 million or $10 million is going to be great to go and help his people back at home,” Fenech explained.

“But you lose your hunger when you have success for so long and this kid’s very, very hungry. That’s going to be the difference. He’s going to make a lot of people eat humble pie.”

Pacquaio Has “Never Been as Motivated”

From the way Pacquiao talks, he’s quite the opposite of what Fenech described. In fact, he’s really fired up for the Battle of Brisbane.

“In all my years of boxing, I have never been as motivated and fired up as this fight,” he told the Courier Mail. “My team is very happy with my preparation. I am looking forward to this and I will be going home as world champion.’’

The 11-time world champion isn’t taking anything for granted and is training as hard as ever. The Courier Mail reports that he knocked his Mexican sparring partner, Adrian Young, down twice during their last session. He didn’t go any easier when sparring with Australian lightweight George Kambosos.

Puncher’s Chance

Based on the odds, it seems very likely that Pacquiao will grab his 60th win and retain his WBO Welterweight title. But Horn has the power to pull off an upset. Moreover, he also has a 4-inch height advantage and is 9 years younger than the champ.

Does all of this make Horn worth a long-shot bet?

You stand to win $425 on him for every $100 wagered, which is always an exciting prospect. But on the other hand, maybe Horn isn’t quite seasoned enough to take down a fighter of Pacquiao’s stature.

We shall see on July 1.

2018 NBA Futures – Which Teams Won in 2017 Draft?

markelle-fultz-phillyThe 2017 NBA Draft brought promise to 29 teams that have been chasing Golden State for the past three years. And this summer’s draft was particularly deep, with a number of potential stars going in the first round.

But which teams upgraded their roster the most in the 2017 Draft? Let’s look at a few teams that benefited greatly.

1. Philadelphia 76ers – Take Washington PG Markelle Fultz No. 1 Overall

Other Picks: Anzejs Pasecniks (C, Latvia) at No. 25; Jonah Bolden (PF, Australia) at No. 36; Sterling Brown (SG, SMU) at No. 46; and Mathais Lessort (C, France) at No. 50

Analysis: This wasn’t a hard pick because Fultz has been listed No. 1 on draft boards for the past year. His Washington Huskies team didn’t experience much success (9-22 record), but Fultz showcased all the skills he needed to in Seattle. The 6’4″ point guard averaged 23.2 points, 5.9 assists, and 5.7 rebounds in his lone collegiate season.

Fultz’s only weakness is that he shot 64.9% from the free-throw line. But this can be overlooked when considering that he has the height and wingspan to defend both guard positions, along with the playmaking skills to be a true point guard.

Philly gave up this year’s No. 3 pick and LA’s top protected pick next year (or Sacramento’s 2019 pick) to get Fultz. But the price is worth it for the perfect compliment to 6’10” Ben Simmons, who’s best suited to be a playermaker in half-court sets. Both players will find Joel Embiid and Dario Saric for open looks on a consistent basis.

For good measure, Philly also added 7-footer Anzejs Pasecniks, whom they can stash overseas for a year or two until he’s ready.

2. Phoenix Suns – Take Kansas SF Josh Jackson at No. 4 Overall

Other Picks: Davon Reed (G, Miami) at No. 32; Alec Peters (PF, Valparaiso) at No. 54

josh-jackson-kansasAnalysis: The Suns haven’t had a winning record in three years, and they haven’t made the playoffs in seven years. This team needed a strong draft, and they sealed it by getting Josh Jackson at No. 4.

The 6’8″ small forward gives Phoenix the wing they need to go along with the lineup of Devin Booker, Marquese Chriss, and Dragan Bender.

They also have T.J. Warren at wing, but he’s not a great defender. Jackson solves this problem because he brings immediate aggression to the position. In fact, he’s too aggressive sometimes, and must tone this down to prevent foul calls.

Jackson’s other weakness is that his jumper isn’t perfect. But the Suns are willing to take a chance on this improving based on the entire package – especially when some draft boards had him as high as No. 1.

The Suns also added shooting guard Davon Reed, a 6’6″ prospect with a 7-foot wingspan. They took a shot at No. 54 with Alec Peters, an injured stretch forward who can provide value here.

3. LA Lakers – Take UCLA PG Lonzo Ball at No. 2 Overall

Other Picks: Kyle Kuzma (PF, Utah); Josh Hart (G, Villanova) at No. 30; Thomas Bryant (G, Indiana) at No. 42; P.J. Dozier (G, South Carolina) signed as undrafted FA

lonzo-ball-uclaAnalysis: The Lakers are too young to be good right away. But they made the right move here, taking UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 selection.

Ball became a big name months before the draft, thanks to the antics of his father, LaVar Ball. But Lonzo has the skills to back his dad’s mouth up, averaging 14.6 PPG, 7.3 APG, and 6.0 RPG. His 274 assists during the 2016-17 campaign set a UCLA record.

The two knocks against Lonzo include his unusual jump shot and marginal lateral quickness. The latter could prove a problem, but Ball made over 41% of his three-pointers at UCLA. In any case, the Lakers couldn’t pass up his combination of height (6’6″) and excellent court vision. The latter has Ball being compared to Brooklyn Nets legend Jason Kidd.

LA made a trade to add more picks so they could draft Utah power forward Kyle Kuzma and Villanova guard Josh Hart in the first round. Kuzma averaged 16.4 PPG and 9.3 RPG, despite playing through an ankle injury. Hart was a key part of Villanova’s 2016 national championship run.

4. Dallas Mavericks – Take NC State PG Dennis Smith at No. 9 Overall

Other Picks: None

dennis-smith-mavericksAnalysis: Dallas has been toiling in mediocrity for the past few years. And the ping pong balls haven’t given them any great luck. But the Mavs may have gotten a gem at No. 9 with NC State point guard Dennis Smith.

At 6’2″, he’s not Lonzo Ball, but he’s got great explosion and is an excellent finisher. The one-and-done freshman turned these attributes into 18.2 PPG on 50.2% shooting.

The downsides to Smith include that he doesn’t have great size or wingspan (6’3″), nor does he shoot particularly well outside (35.9%). But the 19-year-old still has the quick hands to create lots of steals (1.9) on defense. Long story short, Dallas needed an injection of athleticism into their lineup, which Smith provides in spades.

5. Detroit Pistons – Take Duke G Luke Kennard at No. 12 Overall

Other Picks: None

luke-kennard-pistonsAnalysis: Luke Kennard is far from the most-tantalizing pick in the 2017 Draft. He’s a 6’5″ shooting guard with 6’5″ wingspan and middling athleticism.

But the Detroit Pistons didn’t draft the Duke product to be a defensive stopper or outstanding finisher – they drafted him to shoot.

The Pistons only made 33% of their three-pointers last season, which ranked 28th in the league. This makes it awfully hard to create room inside for center Andre Drummond, and driving lanes for athletic wings like Stanley Johnson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Kennard helps in this aspect because he made 43.8% of his three-pointers at Durham. This is even more impressive when you consider that he took 5.4 treys per game, often with a hand in his face. Even when accounting for the NBA three-point line’s greater distance, these numbers will translate well to the pro game. Furthermore, it should make Detroit a more dangerous team overall.

And Kennard shouldn’t have trouble learning NBA playbooks if he can memorize every word to the Disney movie Frozen.

Jimmy Butler Trade Makes Timberwolves Rising Contender

butler-traded-timberwolvesDespite stockpiling lots of young talent over the past few years, the Minnesota Timberwolves have yet to turn it into wins. In fact, their 31-51 record in 2017 is their best mark in the last three seasons.

But Minnesota traded for Jimmy Butler – a proven winner – and have suddenly upgraded their roster big-time.

It wasn’t cheap to get Butler since Minnesota gave up the No. 7 pick (Lauri Markkanen), Zach LaVine, and Kris Dunn. But the return is a 3-time All-Star who’s coming off averages of 23.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 5.5 APG, and 1.9 SPG.

Getting Butler doesn’t mean that the T-Wolves are suddenly poised to contend with the Golden State Warriors. But as we’ll discuss below, it means that Minnesota could very likely contend in a few years.

Butler Joins Towns, Wiggins & Rubio

Minnesota already had a good core in place before trading for Butler. Karl-Anthony Towns is on the verge of stardom after averaging 25.1 PPG, 12.3 RPG, and shooting 54.2% in his second season.

butler-wiggins-townsWiggins also had a strong year, averaging 23.6 PPG and 4.0 RPG. Rubio has never developed a jump shot (40.2%), but he does everything else well, averaging 9.1 APG and 1.71 SPG last year.

The team could still use a deeper bench and veteran role players. But with a rising core in place, and Butler bringing a winning pedigree, the hard part is done.

Butler Reunited with Thibodeau

jimmy-butler-reunited-thibodeauChicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg and Butler never meshed well. This isn’t to say that they were at each other’s throats – in fact, Butler took the chance to defend Hoiberg a few times.

But the newer NBA coach never impressed Butler as much as Tom Thibodeau, the hard-driving former coach of the Bulls.

Thibodeau is now in Minnesota with both coaching and GM responsibilities. And he used the latter role to bring in his former star shooting guard. Thibs was instrumental in developing Butler into one of the league’s top 10 players. And he’s no doubt happy to see the finished product rejoining him in Minneapolis.

Expect a Defensive Upgrade

The Wolves didn’t have trouble scoring last season, ranking 10th in the NBA in points per 100 possessions. But as good as they were offensively, they were even worse defensively. Minnesota ranked 26th in defensive efficiency, something that should change with the addition of Butler.

The 27-year-old came into the league with a defensive reputation, only to later develop the offense to go along with it. He hasn’t lost the defensive fire either, finishing on the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team the last three seasons.

Happy to be Leaving

jimmy-butler-chicago-bulls-tradeLeading up to the 2017 NBA Draft, Butler was involved in numerous trade rumors. And he even seemed interested in going to a contender like the Cleveland Cavaliers. But Butler ultimately told the Cavs that he’d like to stay in Chicago, namely over concerns regarding LeBron James’ future in Cleveland.

This is why it was surprising to hear that he was heading to Minnesota. Butler himself was surprised, telling the Chicago Sun Times that he felt betrayed. Here’s a look at his statement:

“It doesn’t mean a damn thing. I guess being called the face of an organization isn’t as good as I thought. We all see where being the so-called face of the Chicago Bulls got me. So let me be just a player for the Timberwolves, man. That’s all I want to do. I just want to be winning games. Do what I can for my respective organization and let them realize what I’m trying to do.

“Whatever they want to call me … face … I don’t even want to get into that anymore. Whose team is it? All that means nothing. You know what I’ve learned? Face of the team, eventually you’re going to see the back of his head as he’s leaving town, so no thanks.”

Butler’s trainer, Travelle Gaines, took an even more aggressive tone, offering the following now-deleted tweet on Bulls GM Gar Forman:

“0-82.worst culture in the league.I met drug dealers with better morals then their GM. He is a liar and everyone knows”

Bulls Finally Enter Rebuild

butler-bulls-celticsMany have criticized Forman and Bulls VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson for their half-hearted rebuild attempts.

The team has mixed a number of young players with veterans Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo, and (formerly) Butler. The result was a 41-41 regular season and first-round playoff exit.

Now, Chicago has finally embraced a rebuild – although they’ll still have Wade and possibly Rondo. Wade opted into the final year of his $23.8 million option, while Rondo is waiting to see if the Bulls will exercise a $13.4 million option on his contract.

It’s possible that Chicago doesn’t pick up Rondo’s option because this will give LaVine more floor time. The third-year point guard had his best season in 2017, averaging 18.9 PPG, 3.0 APG, and shooting 38.7% from the three-point line. But if the Bulls do bring back Rondo, LaVine can also play off-guard, as he did next to Rubio.

The only problem with LaVine is that the explosive dunker is coming off a torn left ACL. And the Bulls only have one season to re-sign him before he becomes a restricted free agent. But the risk seems worth the reward.

As for Dunn, he struggled during his rookie season, averaging just 3.8 PPG and shooting 37.7% from the field. But he was also the fifth-overall pick in 2016 and highly regarded as a two-way player – one the Bulls coveted. Dunn still has a lot of time to turn things around in Chicago.

The Bulls got one more important piece in their rebuild with Arizona 7-footer Lauri Markkanen. The No. 7 overall pick this summer can shoot outside, making him a solid stretch big.

“I’m just excited to get to Chicago, and I’m going to bring a lot of energy,” said Markkanen. “I can do a lot of things for the team, and not just shooting the ball. I can stretch the floor a lot and I can help the team on rebounding.”

Chicago had to Trade Butler Now

Butler has two years remaining on his deal, which made him a more-attractive trade chip than the Indiana Pacers Paul George – who’s on the last year of his deal.

If Chicago was going to get maximum value for Butler, they had to do it now. And they found a great team to make the trade with, given that Thibodeau can convince Butler to sign an extension after two years. In return, they got the assets they needed to make a real rebuild.

As for Minnesota, they add a proven winner who can play defense. That said, look for Minnesota to make the playoffs next year.

Cavs 2018 Futures: Paul George Trade Talks Begin

paul-george-vs-lebronIf the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2017 campaign proved one thing, it’s that they’re not on the Golden State Warriors’ level. Barring a major injury to one of the Warriors’ key players, Cleveland needs help to regain the throne.

After the Cavs were soundly defeated in the Finals, speculation immediately began that they’d make a move. And Indiana Pacers forward Paul George is one player whose name crossed their radar.

Will they actually make a move for George, which would seriously impact Cleveland’s betting futures? Who would they have to give up to get the All-Star forward?

Let’s answer these questions below.

Indiana Needs to Get Rid of George Before He Leaves

According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, Paul George has already informed the Pacers that he intends to become a free agent in 2018. And if he does this, his first choice would be the L.A. Lakers.

Not only is George from the LA area, but he also sees the marketing opportunities of living here. So it’s in Indiana’s best interests to get something for him before George leaves willingly.

Here’s more from McMenamin on the matter:

paul-george-cavsThe Cavs are willing to enter into trade talks for George without any assurances he will commit to a long-term deal in Cleveland, a source familiar with the Cavs’ thinking told ESPN. Cleveland is confident its championship culture and overall atmosphere could sway George to want to stay after playing out the 2017-18 season on the final year of his deal.

That said, there are only two assets the Cavs possess that would likely grab the Pacers’ attention in a potential swap (operating under the assumption that LeBron James is untouchable): Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving.

And to part with either the 25-year-old Irving or the 28-year-old Love, both coming off All-Star seasons and on relatively economical long-term deals, without any verbal commitment from George that he planned to stay in Cleveland beyond 2018 would be “hard” to agree to, one source familiar with the Cavs’ thinking told ESPN.

As this report shows, Cleveland trading for Paul George is far from a sure thing. The only assets they have that would tempt the Pacers include Irving and Love. To move one of these players – both of whom have multiple years on their deals – for a potential one-year rental doesn’t make a lot of sense.

On the other hand, taking a chance on George and being able to re-sign him may be Cleveland’s best chance of beating Golden State.

LeBron James would Immediately Mesh with George

cavs-vs-pacersAs McMenamin points out, James and George have long been friends. They’ve also played together in an international basketball setting.

Following Cleveland’s four-game sweep of the Pacers, James was quick to complement his friend as a “big-time player” LeBron added that he and George have “a really good friendship, I’m going to leave it at that.”

Assuming Cleveland adds George, it would immediately create the best forward pairing in the league. George would likely resume his role as a swingman, while James would move to power forward, and Love to center (if he’s not traded).

What’s Best for Indiana in this Situation?

paul-george-2017With George set for 2018 free agency and already talking about the Lakers, potential suitors are waning. Indiana needs to find a trade partner that not only wants George to contend, but also thinks they have a serious chance of changing his mind.

This limits them to Cleveland and a handful of other teams that may be willing to give up a serious asset.

The other side to this is the Lakers, who haven’t engaged in serious trade talks with Indiana because they feel that they can sit back and wait until 2018. Assuming George is as die-hard about signing with them as he appears, then they shouldn’t need to risk any assets.

Will the Cavs Trade for George?

kevin-love-cavsGoing back to Cleveland, there’s no guarantee that they’ll be better with George if they have to give up an All-Star to get him.

Irving is one of the league’s best isolation players and perhaps the top finishing point guard. Love brings elite rebounding and three-point shooting to the power forward position.

Meanwhile, George is a 6’9″ forward who moves like a guard. He’s also capable of guarding the Warriors’ Kevin Durant, something that Cleveland could desperately use to free up James.

Taking this into account, they might just take a chance on the George trade in hopes that he’ll help them beat Golden State.

4 Possible Reasons why Celtics Traded No. 1 Pick to Philly

celtics-aingeThe 2017 NBA Draft is still a few days away. But we’ve already seen one bombshell move go down: the Boston Celtics trading the No. 1 overall pick to the Philadelphia 76ers.

It’s been speculated that Boston would shop their pick since they have the capability to win now. And this trade, which nets the Celtics the No. 3 overall pick along with the Lakers’ 2018 first-round pick, proves the rumors true.

While Boston added more high picks to their arsenal, they could’ve also held pat and drafted Washington point guard Markelle Fultz, who’s good enough to be the consensus top selection.

Now, the question is why Boston decided to pass on this opportunity to move down in the draft and pick up another (potentially) high selection next year. Let’s look at four reasons why below.

No. 1: To Draft Josh Jackson

josh-jackson-kansasKansas wing Josh Jackson has been linked to everybody from the Celtics at No. 1 to the Phoenix Suns at No. 4. CBS Sports claims that Josh Jackson is GM Danny Ainge’s guy, thanks to his length and defensive ability. And it’s very possible that the Celtics traded down because they think Jackson will be available at the third spot.

Assuming this is true and they get Jackson, Boston pulled off a great move. Instead of just taking him with the top pick, they grab an additional asset – something that many teams would’ve given the Celtics to draft Fultz.

The downside to this move is that L.A. could still take Jackson at No. 2. In this event, Boston would be in a bind, deciding whether to take point guards Lonzo Ball or De’Aaron Fox, or go with Duke forward Jayson Tatum. One more option includes trading down again, although Ainge enters unfamiliar territory the further he goes down in the draft.

No. 2: To Trade for a Superstar (i.e. Jimmy Butler or Paul George)

jimmy-butler-celticsThe Celtics have long been linked to Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler. They’re also interested in Indiana Pacers forward Paul George, another player that could help them compete with the Cavaliers.

By picking up LA’s 2018 selection to go along with this year’s No. 3 pick, they have more assets to trade. Packaged with Brooklyn’s 2018 pick, this presents an awfully enticing treasure trove for interested teams. And let’s not forget that Boston has a first-round pick coming from Memphis in the future.

Ainge has done an excellent job of grabbing assets. But when does it come time to finally cash in on them and become an elite contender?

That time will be now if he trades draft picks for a superstar. Both Chicago and Indiana would be surrendering their chances of winning by trading their top players. And they’ll want high draft picks in return. Boston has this – the question is whom they want to make the move for.

Odds are that they’ll go for Butler first because he’s under contract for a few more seasons. George, on the other hand, is a free agent next season and has eyes on the Lakers in 2018.

By giving up Fultz now, Ainge also gives up the chance to add another superstar to the core. It only makes sense if he’s figuring out how to turn these picks into another All-Star.

No. 3: Because Celtics Only Need Isaiah Thomas at Point

markelle-fultz-phillyOne of the biggest discussions leading up to the 2017 Draft is if Fultz and Celtics star Isaiah Thomas could share the court. After all, both are point guards by nature, and it’s likely that they’d play a lot together.

Another floated theory was that Boston would use Fultz at point if they decided not to give Thomas a max contract next offseason.

We don’t have to worry about these scenarios now, though, because there’s no way that Fultz will slide to No. 3. Going further, it seems more and more likely that Ainge is prepared to pay Thomas whatever he asks for.

isaiah-thomas-celticsThis seems like a good move too because the 5’9″ guard has proven himself again and again. He not only led the Celtics to an East-leading 53 wins last season, but also averaged 28.9 PPG and 5.9 APG. Earning the nickname “King of the Fourth,” Thomas has proven that he can deliver in the clutch.

Boston could be one established player away from becoming a bonafide contender – something they don’t look to be now after being beaten by Cleveland 4-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Fultz wouldn’t be the player they needed for another 2-3 seasons….and that’s before we get into him playing the same position as their top scorer.

No. 4: To Wait Until the Cavs are Done Dominating the East

iguodala-lebron-jamesCleveland proved little match for Golden State in the NBA Finals. But they also proved to be heads above the East, ripping through the first three rounds with a 12-1 record.

By trading down, Boston could be waiting out King James’ reign in Cleveland. This allows them to take a really good prospect in 2017, another one in 2018 (in addition to Brooklyn’s pick), and/or use the Kings’ 2019 selection to add more talent.

To clarify, Boston gets the Lakers’ 2018 pick if it’s between No. 2-5. If not, Philadelphia keeps the selection, and the Celtics acquire Sacramento’s 2019 unprotected pick instead.

Either way, Boston is in an enviable position where they can stay competitive now while continuing to add young players who’ll help in the future. By the time the draft picks mature in the early-to-mid 2020s, Boston is set to take over the East because LeBron will be in his late 30s.

What’s more is that the Warriors might finally lose their grip on the league by then. As it looks now, Golden State is poised to win 4 titles over the next 5 seasons – as Klay Thompson’s dad, Mychal, declared. And this isn’t just some LaVar Ball-sized prediction – it actually looks to be accurate right now.

Why should the Celtics work so hard to become a contender now if this is the case?

Danny Ainge has proven to be an unpredictably good GM so far. And we may have no idea what he’ll truly do with his draft pick(s) until June 22.

Knicks Futures: Derrick Rose Wants to Stay in NY – Will Take Pay Cut

derrick-rose-2017-knicks-resignBy all accounts, the 2016-17 NBA season was a big disappointment for the New York Knicks, who finished 31-51. But apparently, this isn’t enough to keep point guard Derrick Rose from wanting to re-sign with the team.

Rose will hit unrestricted free agency in two weeks, giving him the ability to sign anywhere. And sources report that his first choice is inking a deal with New York.

In terms of numbers and playing time, this idea doesn’t seem so crazy. Rose averaged 18.0 PPG – his highest since 2012 – while shooting 47.1% from the field and a career-high 87.4% from the free-throw line. The 28-year-old also played in 64 games, which is his second most since 2011.

We wouldn’t say that the former league MVP has returned to 2011 form, when he averaged 25 PPG and 7.7 APG. But he played better in New York than he did in some past seasons with the Chicago Bulls.

Let’s take a look at what the Bleacher Report has to say on the matter, and cover how Rose staying with the Knicks will impact their betting futures.

Rose’s Agent Says “We Want the Best Team Possible”

rose-knicks-free-agent-2017Bleacher Report’s Yaron Weitzman writes that Rose’s camp thinks New York is the best team for the star guard. They’ve also indicated that he’ll take less money to make a deal happen:

“Derrick loves New York and wants to be there,” Rose’s agent, B.J. Armstrong, told Bleacher Report recently. “We’ve expressed that to them and been very consistent about it. Whether it happens is on them; all we can do is be clear.”

Armstrong said Rose, who underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee in April, is healthy and working out. He also insinuated that Rose would be willing to take a pay cut (he made $21.3 million last year).

“In the end, we want to explore everything—if you’re going to compete, you clearly need a number of [top] players, so let’s figure that out,” Armstrong said. “We want the best team possible. That’s it. All the other stuff, if the team wins, everyone wins.”

Big Change from Rose’s Mindset Last Season

derrick-rose-knicks-futuresThe idea of Derrick Rose taking less money to remain in New York represents a change from the season, when Rose’s camp suggested that he’d look for a max contract for the 2017-18 campaign. This was also during the bizarre midseason disappearance of Rose, where he skipped a game and didn’t notify team officials beforehand.

It didn’t help matters that he was also one of the lead Knicks players who grumbled about the triangle offense:

Derrick Rose has a philosophy now with the triangle, a system still like a foreign language to the point guard: “Don’t F’ it up.” […]

Let’s just say, Rose remains reluctant in his embrace of Phil Jackson’s system.
“S–t, do I have a choice? Do I have a choice?” Rose said when asked if he’s warming up to the triangle. “I just want to win games. Winning takes care of every category for an athlete.”

Hornacek Indiates that They’re Open to Rose Coming Back

Despite Rose missing a game without notifying the team, and his hesitancy towards the triangle, New York still expressed a willingness to bring him back. Here’s more from the New York Post’s Marc Berman:

“We haven’t discussed that,’’ Hornacek said. “Derrick did a lot of good things for us this year, with the way he can break down the defense. As the season went on, he got more comfortable with the offense. It’s unfortunate he has to have another surgery. I’m sure he’ll come back strong from it. He worked hard last year in the summer to get his body in good shape. I’m sure he’ll do that again. We’ll take a look at it and see if we can bring him back.’’

Rose Has Dropped Hints that He Wants to Stay with the Knicks

derrick-rose-carmeloRose reciprocated Hornacek’s lukewarm words while taking in a Bulls playoff game against the Boston Celtics. Here’s what he told the Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson:

“I’m going into it with an open mind and will listen to everyone,” Rose said. “Last season sucked losing. But it was a great experience. I loved the guys that I played with and I loved the coaching staff. And who wouldn’t like playing in New York? It was great.”

Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reported the following on Rose staying:

“We talked about him going through rehab and work and whatever he has to do. And he’s chosen to go back to Chicago to do that. He’ll also be in L.A. but he also took the time out to say he really he enjoyed playing here even with the losses, which of course surprises us because he’s been on some very successful teams but he wants to redeem himself as a player. Which I like that attitude. I like who Derrick represents as himself. He’s very direct about taking on a big challenge.”

How Rose’s Re-signing will Affect the Knicks’ Betting Futures

rose-joakim-noahDerrick Rose felt that New York was going to be an upper-tier team in the East. And it seemed remotely possible, given the free-agent additions of himself, Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee, and Brandon Jennings.

However, things didn’t turn out quite as planned as the team failed to gel. And as Rose pointed out, none of the veterans were too happy about the heavy losses. This now marks four straight losing seasons for a Knicks team that doesn’t show much promise, despite having Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis leading them.

As mentioned in the introduction, Rose put up solid numbers with New York. And the Knicks benefited from his presence, scoring 5.5 more points per 100 possessions with him on the floor.

Unfortunately, the defense gave up more points with him on the floor too. New York surrendered 106.1 points per 100 possessions when he sat, and 111.1 points per 100 when he played. The latter would’ve ranked fifth-to-last in the league.

In the end, though it’s tough to tell how much better Rose makes New York. The numbers suggest that he’s an offensive upgrade, which adds an extra scoring threat to take pressure off Melo and Porzingis. But bad defense has plagued New York for years, and Rose doesn’t help this situation.

Taking everything into account, Rose won’t tremendously boost New York’s odds of winning the Eastern Conference. But he’s definitely better than rolling with Ron Baker and Chasson Randle as your top point guard options.

Chances are that the Knicks will bring Rose back if it makes sense financially. And this could be the case, given that rumors have Rose taking less money to return.

This option makes even more sense if New York grabs a point guard with the No. 8 overall draft pick. Reports have surfaced that French guard Frank Ntilikina is their guy. He’s a 6’5″ player with long arms and a sound jumper, which would make him good for the triangle.

That said, perhaps they could work out a two or three-year deal while Ntilikina is groomed.