Well, the Cavs have finally made a move in attempt to compete with Golden State after the beating they received in the 2017 Finals. The Cleveland Cavaliers have inked Derrick Rose to a 1 year, $2.1 million contract. On the surface, it is incredibly easy to rip into this move, and don’t get me wrong, I was just as baffled as many others when the move was announced. However, this move actually makes a lot of sense, and honestly isn’t the worst thing in the world.
Let’s start with the obvious: this move, by no means, makes them a favorite to win the NBA Finals. Derrick Rose is no longer the dazzling, speedy point guard that he was at the University of Memphis or during his MVP season in Chicago. While he does still show some glimpses of the bounce he once had, knee injuries have plagued much of his career. So what does Rose still have to offer? First and foremost, D-Rose is hungry. After years of not being able to get over the hump in Chicago and a very forgettable year in New York, Derrick Rose is finally with a contender, and he won’t have to go past LeBron to get there. Second, Derrick Rose, if healthy still has incredible ability to finish at the bucket. This skill will be incredibly valuable if/when Kyrie Irving is dealt away. More on that later. Rose has incredible basketball IQ and vision, and on a team where he won’t have to be one of the primary focuses, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rose become more of a slasher and use that finishing ability. D-Rose also can use his length on the defensive end, an emphasis instilled by Tom Thibodeau in Chicago.
After what has been what can only be described as turbulent offseason, the Cavs may finally have some direction. Yes, it has been fairly disappointing missing out on Butler, George and Hayward, not having a draft pick, parting ways with David Griffin and now the Kyrie Irving fiasco, all of which are seemingly pointing towards LeBron James leaving after next season. Cavaliers haven’t had too much to smile about lately. That being said, the Derrick Rose signing brings a shimmering of hope. In the same day that the team announced Koby Altman as GM, it also made a very financially smart move to get a proven vet. On top of all the previous reasons on why Rose could be a good fit in The Land, Derrick Rose is a gamer. Having played on some of the biggest stages and played very well, the return to the spotlight could bring a Renaissance-type season. As recently as the 2015 NBA playoffs, Rose took Cleveland to six games and hit an incredible three at the buzzer to give Chicago a 2-1 lead in the series. This move also brings some sense of normalcy for the new GM to get his feet wet before the bigger move(s) coming up.
The fact that D-Rose is presumably replacing Kyrie may be interesting to watch. While Irving and (healthy) Rose have similar game styles, it is quite possible that a player who won’t have a problem taking the backseat to LeBron driving the offense could function well. It is yet to be seen the return the Cavs will get for Kyrie, but this move could be enough to give Altman the courage to get bigger pieces without feeling the need to target a superstar point guard. While it is sad to see the Uncle Drew Era in Cleveland end, this one year experiment of LeBron and D-Rose could be interesting to watch.