Derrick Rose is headed to the Cleveland Cavaliers following a one-year trial run with the New York Knicks.
According to Shams Charania of The Vertical, Rose completed his physical and agreed to sign with the team on Monday. ESPN’s Chris Haynes reported the deal is for one year and $2.1 million.
“He just wants to focus on winning basketball games,” said Rose’s agent B.J. Armstrong to Haynes when asked why he picked Cleveland. Rose is “looking at a potential starting spot,” according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com.
Rose spoke with LeBron James during the process of deciding where to sign, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com.
Shortly after the news broke, James tweeted the following:
🌹 🌹 🌹🌹🌹 Let’s Rock G!!
— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 24, 2017
While he currently projects as a backup behind Kyrie Irving, he is clearly inline for a bigger role if the All-Star is traded.
Zach Lowe of ESPN.com reported earlier Monday that the team is acting as if a trade involving Irving is inevitable. Irving’s trade request was a topic of discussion during negotiations with Rose, per Vardon.
Rose landed with the Knicks after the Chicago Bulls shipped him out of town last June, but his lone year in New York wasn’t exactly smooth. Although he averaged 18.0 points on a solid 47.1 percent shooting from the field, Rose converted a career-low 21.7 percent of his threes and proved to be a sieve on defense.
The Knicks surrendered 111.1 points per 100 possessions when Rose was on the floor, according to NBA.com’s lineup data. When he sat, that number improved to 106.1.
In other words, the Knicks played like the league’s worst defense with Rose on the floor and performed like a league-average unit when he was on the bench.
As if those numbers weren’t bad enough, Rose was also stung by the injury bug again when the team announced at the start of April that he had to be shut down for the regular season due to a torn left meniscus.
And while the ailment wasn’t considered a particularly serious one—the Knicks announced he would resume basketball activities roughly three to six weeks after surgery—it meant another trip under the knife for a player who has been plagued by lower-body injuries since tearing his ACL in 2012.
Now a member of the Cavaliers, Rose will need to prove he can stay healthy, pare down defensive deficiencies and emerge as a steady scorer for a contending squad. Rose provides some security at the position as he tries to compete for a title with the three-time defending Eastern Conference champions.
That also means the former MVP’s play will be dissected under an intense microscope, especially when the playoffs roll around and his every move on defense will be tracked as the Cavaliers eye a fourth-straight Finals clash with the Golden State Warriors.
But if Rose can break through and prove efficient on both ends, he could be in line to capitalize on his prove-it deal next summer.