The Detroit Pistons should not even consider trading Derrick Rose
An inevitable reality in sports is watching the most talented, beloved, and transformative athletes fall victim to their own, natural degradation. The Detroit Pistons players are just like any other team’s when it comes to that.
Athletes (not named LeBron James) that once reigned atop their leagues eventually usher in a new era of stars, and are relegated to mere mentors and cheerleaders.
What is the saying? Father Time has never lost.
Derrick Rose, of course, is no exception.
The trajectory of the 32-year-old’s NBA career — through an MVP year, injuries, game-winners, more injuries, five teams in four years — could be charted like a heart rate monitor.
The fanfare around Rose brought in much-needed excitement to the Pistons last season. And, in his first year with the team, his two-year, $15 million contract looked like a steal. Rose averaged nearly 18 points and six assists on career-high shooting marks in 2019-20.
Through his second go-around with Detroit, Rose isn’t in the dust bin yet, but his decline is apparent. In his 13th season, Rose is posting his second-worst totals in minutes and points per game, and a career low in field goal percentage. It has been comparable to his injury-plagued 2017-18 season with the Cavaliers and Timberwolves.
Pistons fans, who have watched their franchise get ripped down to the studs in a rebuild, have bellowed from the rooftops to trade for any assets possible for the vet.
But Detroit should not trade him.
Trading Derrick Rose would be a major shot to Detroit Pistons culture
This isn’t the Derrick Rose of old, or even last year, but he is still vital to the Pistons team, on and off the court.
Despite these visible declines, Rose has still shown how valuable he can be in the game, even before Killian Hayes’ injury made Rose less dispensable. He registered a 17-5-4 line in Detroit’s first regular season win over the Celtics, for example.
During Sunday’s 96-86 loss to the Jazz, his shot creation was sorely missed in a stagnant offense.
His shooting numbers have dipped, but he’s still among the league’s best at drawing fouls. When he’s on the court, the Pistons have averaged +6.0 more points per 100 possessions and a +9.1 net rating gain.
Rose’s performance may warrant a greater sense of urgency to trade him, but the return he would garner is still questionable.
His contract is team friendly and expires after this season. What better could Detroit get than a second-rounder or maybe a late first-rounder? Is the limited possibility of a successful late draft pick greater than what Rose can do this year, and beyond if he re-signs?
Then there is the part that we can’t see.
Hayes, apprehensive in his first few career games, under Rose’s tutelage could portend expedited development in becoming the Pistons’ future point guard. For all we know, this mentorship could extend to any other Detroit player — eight of which on the roster are 23 or younger.
None of this is to say that Rose won’t be traded, or that a positive return is impossible.
The best reason to trade Rose is for the goodwill he has amassed as a potential Hall-of-Famer and ambassador for Detroit. Give him a chance to win a ring on a contender.
But, as it stands, Rose is too valuable to be traded for anything besides a no-brainer offer. Time will tell if that comes to fruition. The trade deadline is not until March 25.
The Pistons are still playing themselves into a top-5 pick and there is no reason to start losing at a catastrophic level without Rose.
At worst, Detroit finishes with a poor record and keeps one of the game’s best teachers on its roster.