Detroit Pistons: Derrick Rose trade to Los Angeles Lakers rumors return

(Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
(Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images) /

Rumors suggesting the Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Pistons are revisiting a deal centered around Derrick Rose have returned.

Last season, the Detroit Pistons were close on a trade deadline deal to send Derrick Rose to finish the season as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. Unfortunately, for both parties, terms couldn’t be agreed upon, and the deal was nixed.

A few months later, it’s been rumored that those talks are again beginning to pick up steam. Just a few short weeks from winning an NBA Championship in the Orlando Bubble, the Lakers are beginning to lay out the blueprint for what will be their first title defense in nearly a decade.

At the same time, the Detroit Pistons have spent the last year shedding salary and opening up cap-space with hopes of finding an impact player in the upcoming NBA Draft, as well as becoming a significant “player” in free agency this offseason.

Rose is a veteran capable of playing both guard positions and has two seasons remaining on his deal. At 31-years-old, his trade value may have reached its ceiling. The often-injured former-MVP is currently healthy and capable of impacting a championship-caliber team on both ends of the floor.

Looking at why a Derrick Rose to the Lakers deal makes sense.

With both the NBA Draft and Free Agency set to begin within the next month, it’s not surprising to learn that the Lakers still have an interest in Rose. Both Rajon Rondo and former Piston Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are looking to cash-in on their strong performances during Los Angeles’ championship run and have made it clear that each intends to test the market this summer.

Rose’s diverse skill-set from the guard position would fit-in nicely in their absence. Although his level of play hasn’t returned to the same heights it once reached as a youngster with the Chicago Bulls; the former-Memphis Tiger has shown that he’s capable of providing veteran leadership and capable of impacting the game as either a spot starter, sixth-man, or rotational position.

Financially, Rose’s Mid-Level Exception contract will pay him just a hair shy of $7.7M for the upcoming 2020-21 season. The figure is team-friendly for all parties involved. If a deal with the Lakers doesn’t materialize, Motor City fans should not panic because Rose will have plenty of other suitors by mid-season as long as he remains healthy.

What would a deal between the Lakers and Pistons look like?

Because the Pistons have intentions of clearing cap-space, a move to the Lakers would be quite feasible pertaining to both team’s current salary-cap situation. Last season, a deal, including Lakers youngster and Flint, Michigan native Kyle Kuzma fell apart when the talks transitioned to the inclusion of draft pick compensation.

Right now, the Lakers have sent a majority of their first-rounders in the immediate future to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of the Anthony Davis trade. Being completely honest, Rose isn’t worth a first-rounder and a young, developing player at this point.

However, a case can be made for the latter. Kuzma’s inconsistencies could disappear with more seasoning on a team, not always in the spotlight (i.e., Brandon Ingram in New Orleans). Detroit wants to get younger, and Kuzma would be a nice fit for years to come.

To equal out the salary exchange, the Lakers could include defensive-stalwart JaVale McGee. With the addition of Dwight Howard to Los Angeles’ roster last season, it seems as if McGee has reached his peak in Tinseltown.

Down the stretch in the NBA Bubble and throughout the playoffs, Howard’s play was impactful and worthy of a raise this offseason. He fits in nicely with both LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and it’s hard to believe that GM Rob Pelinka would just let the defensive centerpiece walk in free agency.

The Final Verdict

At 32-years-old, McGee would provide the Pistons with veteran leadership, a championship pedigree for younger players to learn from, and the ability to protect the rim each night for about 20-minutes per contest. He has one year left on his current contract.

Considering the notion that Pistons big-man Christian Wood may garner plenty of interest on the free-agent market, it’d be safe to presume that McGee’s floor would be as a one-year insurance policy, where Detroit would then reassess its position in the frontcourt for the 2021-2022 season.

Most of the Lakers’ money is expected to be tied up in veteran contracts. Detroit would toss in a second-round pick to even the trade, and Rose would be packing his bags and heading for better weather.

The Detroit Pistons would get their youth and eventual salary-cap space. Meanwhile, the Lakers would fill a void in their backcourt with a savvy veteran at a moderate cost. The deal makes sense for both parties. Tell Pistons GM Troy Weaver to roll the dice.