The Cleveland Cavaliers need more talent to contend with the Golden State Warriors. And point guard Derrick Rose needs somewhere to play as the offseason winds down. This makes both sides a good fit for each other.
Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Rose and Cleveland are “in serious talks” to agree on a 1-year contract.
Rose is one the top unrestricted free agents this summer. And if he signs a deal with Cleveland, he’d play backup point guard behind All-Star Kyrie Irving.
The Cavs have already signed Jose Calderon, who averaged 3.4 points and 2.1 assists for the LA Lakers and Atlanta Hawks last season. Calderon is presumed to be Cleveland’s backup, however, he’d play third-string if Rose signs.
But will Rose sign? If so, how does he change the Cavs 2018 championship odds?
We’ll answer these questions below and also discuss how Rose fits into this team.
How can Rose Help the Cavaliers?
Nevertheless, he’s still a productive player who averaged 18.0 PPG, 4.4 APG, and shot 47.1% for the New York Knicks last season.
Number aside, it’s hard to figure out how Rose fits into Cleveland’s plans. Starter LeBron James often plays with the bench unit and handles the ball. The backup point guard has usually been a good shooter who’s comfortable coming off screens.
Rose, on the other hand, is one of the league’s worst point guards at outside shooting. He hit just 21.7% of his three-point attempts last season and is a career 29.8% shooter from beyond the arc.
Obviously the Cavs’ past bench formula won’t work with Rose. But what he can do is run the offense by himself when James and Irving sit.
If he can score 18 points and get to the rim for the dysfunctional Knicks, he should have no trouble doing well against reserve point guards.
As for the way Cleveland normally likes to use their bench, Calderon could still have a role.
Again, he wouldn’t play many minutes with both Rose and Irving on the team. But he could be the off-the-ball point guard Cleveland needs when LeBron runs the bench offense. Calderon is a career 40.9% three-point shooter, which would help.
What does Rose have Left?
Derrick Rose may be 28 years old, but he’s an old 28.
After being selected No. 1 overall by the Chicago Bulls in 2008, he played extremely well from then until his MVP season in 2011. The Bulls were also great, finishing first in the Eastern Conference standings in 2011 and 2012.
Rose did prove he has something left with the Knicks, though, playing 64 games and recording his best scoring average since 2012.
It was his most effective offensive season of the past five years. He also shot his highest field goal percentage since then too.
And Cleveland isn’t asking Rose to be their superstar. They just need somebody to help the offense when James, Irving, and/or Kevin Love are sitting.
Rose’s Impact on Cavs 2017/18 Odds
Currently, we have Cleveland’s odds of winning the 2018 NBA championship at +350. For comparison, we had them in the +200s throughout much of last offseason after they won the 2016 title.
But the Cavs looked outclassed by the Golden State Warriors in the 2017 NBA Finals. And it’s clear that they need help because the Warriors (-220 odds) are bringing back their entire core.
Rose doesn’t suddenly swing the odds in Cleveland’s favor. But what he does do is give them a better chance. Assuming Rose signs, the Cavs’ true odds swing to the low +300s or high +200s.
Will Rose Take a Low Contract?
One big roadblock is that Cleveland doesn’t have any cap space. The highest contract they can offer Rose is the remaining $2.5 million of their taxpayer mid-level exception.
He made $21.5 million playing for the Knicks last year. Perhaps he’ll take far less money for the opportunity to compete for a championship.
According to ESPN, they’re only offering him a $2.1 million veteran minimum. As reported by Chris Haynes, Rose “just wants to play ball” and will be looking closely at the Cavs’ and other team’s culture.
Sources say Derrick Rose "just wants to play ball," so it appears whichever team can sell its atmosphere, defined role will have advantage.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 20, 2017
Cleveland did have a good team culture, one that includes three straight NBA Finals trips. But a dark cloud hangs over the Cavs with all the reports on James eyeing the LA Lakers in 2019.
Rose also Interested in LA Lakers and Chicago Bulls
Lakers Nation reports that Rose is intrigued with the prospect of signing with LA or Chicago. Of these two, he’s mostly interested in the Lakers:
“The Lakers and Cavs are the favorites to land Rose and each offers something completely different,” writes Lakers Nation’s Corey Hansford. “The Cavaliers would give Rose the opportunity to win a championship as they’ve made the NBA Finals three straight seasons and will again be the favorite to come out of the Eastern Conference this year.”
Derrrick Rose likely to pick team this weekend, I'm told. Cavs, Lakers, reported, but talks w/ his agent, BJ Armstrong, & Bulls too.
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 20, 2017
The big draw to either LA or Chicago is that they can both offer Rose more money. Chicago offers the added benefit of being Rose’s former team and hometown.
However, the drawback is that both teams are in rebuilding situations. And Rose would lose far more games with either team than with the Cavs.
Given that Rose is expected to make a decision this weekend, we should know very soon what he decides.