The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed Derrick Rose.
Some might say that this headline may pale in comparison to other offseason news (surprising or otherwise) like Chris Paul moving to Houston; Jimmy Butler rejoining his former coach in Minnesota; Gordon Hayward reuniting with his college coach, Brad Stevens; and Golden State reinforcing its bench with players like Omar Casspi and Nick Young, not to mention, re-signing Kevin Durant; but there’s much promise in it and dedicated Rose fans may agree.
The former MVP has spent most of his eight-year NBA career sidelined due to multiple injuries and that might have affected people’s perspective of him; however, one cannot dismiss the fact that despite everything, Rose can and might make his mark in Cleveland.
Just before that devastating moment in that game against Philadelphia in the first round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs, Rose had been solidifying his status in the league: Rookie of the Year, three-time All Star, Most Valuable Player in 2011, and he just won a gold medal in the FIBA World Cup in 2010 playing for Team USA.
In an interview prior to that game, Rose had said that he was feeling better, having sat out 27 games because of injuries. And for 47 minutes he was – he had 23 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists and a 99 – 87 lead. Then it happened. Rose tore his ACL in his left knee after jumping, trying to elude defenders while driving to the hoop. He would miss the rest of the Playoffs and Chicago went on to lose, 2 – 4.
Rose did not play in the 2012-13 season, but came ready the next season, showing signs of great improvement in the preseason games. In his first game back – October 29, 2013 – he managed with 12 points and four assists in a loss to Miami. He followed it with 18 points and six rebounds in a win against New York. He scored in double figures the next four games (13, 17, 12, 16) before suffering a sore right hamstring. He would get injured again (torn meniscus in right knee) in Portland after scoring 20 points and would miss the rest of the season.
In his last two years with the Bulls, Rose battled with more injuries, great and small, but would otherwise have good moments like getting back to the Playoffs in 2014-15 where he averaged 20.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 6.5 assists. In his final year in Chicago, Rose averaged 16.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 4.7 assists. The Bulls missed the Playoffs train that year as well as Rose, whom they traded to New York with Justin Holiday (and a 2017 second round draft pick) for Jose Calderon, Jerian Grant, and Robin Lopez.
New York seemed a perfect place for Rose’s resurgence and, despite the woes that befell the team, it certainly provided an avenue for Rose to find his old self and maybe reinvent it. He played 64 games in the 2016-17 season and normed 18.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 4.4 assists. He had flashes of brilliance that year, opening with a 17-point performance vs. Cleveland, having a double-double against his former team (15 points and 11 assists), and scoring 30 vs. Oklahoma. However, in April, Rose found himself in a familiar place: injury – torn meniscus in the left knee.
Now, in a new team, in a new home, Rose has yet another chance to show his skills that once wowed arenas and fans, a chance to make himself relevant again. Rose deserves to be in this situation, in a new home, a new team that, because of its championship-caliber, can bring out the best of the former MVP.
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With all the rumors of Kyrie Irving leaving the Cavaliers, the Rose trade might’ve come at the right time. While the starting position cannot be promised to him, Rose will still be effective off the bench, especially with his one-on-one brilliance. Despite not being a great three point shooter (29.8% 3pt shooting), he remains to be an efficient scorer (45.1% fg shooting) and playmaker (6.0 apg). He may not be as outstanding as he once was but Rose will definitely make an impact to the Cavaliers en route to (possibly) his first Finals stint.
Rose’s new life in Cleveland awaits and we are all watching, hoping for the best.