Knicks near trade to acquire Derrick Rose for Dennis Smith Jr., pick

Kurt Helin

Tom Thibodeau and Derrick Rose are close to being reunited.

Talk of a Rose trade to the Knicks has been swirling for the last 48 hours around the league, and it is now nearly done, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The draft pick is almost certainly the second-rounder the Pistons already owe the Knicks, Detroit essentially will get its pick back. Getting the pick is as much for taking on Smith Jr. as it is for sending out Rose in the trade.

This is a change of direction for the Knicks front office, which has focused on giving its young players run and room to grow on the court — particularly rookie point guard Immanuel Quickley. It would be a mistake by Thibodeau to reduce Quickley’s minutes in favor of going with a veteran he trusts (to be fair, Thibodeau has given the young Knicks plenty of leash to run this season, even though that is not his reputation).

That said, Rose is a solid veteran who would make the Knicks better, and he goes way back with Thibodeau.

Thibodeau was the Bulls’ coach when Rose first entered the league, and Thibs helped guide him to becoming an MVP. Injuries ultimately changed Rose’s career trajectory, but he is averaging 14.2 points in 22 minutes a game this season in Detroit, shooting 33.3% from three. Rose’s efficiency has dropped this season from the level that had him seventh in the Sixth Man of the Year voting last season, but he still will provide quality minutes.

The Knicks front office may have started the season thinking slow rebuild, but at 11-13 New York is currently the seven seed in the East and positioned to make the play-in series and maybe from there the playoffs in the East. That would be a huge step forward for the franchise and shows the ship is headed in the right direction, and Rose can help them get there.