By how I've learned Phil Jackson works, anything can happen on draft day, and the New York Knicks could look to deal further after a blockbuster trade that sent former No. 1 pick Derrick Rose to New York and Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant to the Chicago Bulls.
The buzz surrounding several draft prospects, like Brandon Ingram, Jamal Murray and Domantas Sabonis, at Wednesday's NBA Cares event at Basketball City, was that Jackson trading for Rose was a great move.
"It's huge for New York, Rose is still a star," Kentucky's Skal Labissiere said. "And it sounds like they really didn't have to give much up."
Indeed they didn't. The buzz around Rose, first reported by ESPN's Ian Begley a few days ago, was relatively tame to begin with. The feeling, I heard, was that Chicago would ask for future first-round picks -- something the Knicks haven't been willing to part with since their failed Andrea Bargnani experiment in 2014 that cost them this year's No. 9 pick.
In dealing Lopez and Grant, whom the Knicks were high on, they were able to land the oft-injured guard, Justin Holiday, a spot-shooting specialist who shot a career-high 43 percent from 3-point range this year in 27 games, and bring back a 2017 second-round pick.
But Rose is the marquee player here, as he is just 27 and only has one year remaining on his contract. The incentive is there. Despite his knee troubles, which have sidelined him for most of the past few years, he is still an elite driver of the basketball. Rose was the dribble-drive prototype coming out of Memphis. Since the NBA has kept driving stats, which the Knicks ranked toward the bottom last year, Rose has been near the very top. He ranked tied for 16th with 8.9 drives per game and was eighth in team points per drive (6.9), right behind and LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and James Harden.
The Knicks were dreadful in transition last year and in scoring easy baskets, which were two big reasons why they struggled to win so many close games. Rose helps the team's biggest weaknesses immediately, which is a plus, and the lack of a long-term commitment should incentivize Rose to prove his worth ahead of next year's free agency.
It may seem like another Stephon Marbury-type deal at first glance, but this isn't the case. Marbury came with Penny Hardaway's mammoth $100-plus million, long-term deal that compounded the Patrick Ewing trade - easily the worst trade in Knicks history. Unless Rose pulls an Antonio McDyess, which could happen, this is a steal for New York, which still has between $35 million and $40 million to spend defending on qualifying offers to both Cleanthony Early and Langston Galloway. The Knicks are currently only committed to $30 million next year, and that flexibility may come in handy sooner or later.
In the end, it's hard to argue that the Knicks didn't get better. They filled by far their biggest weakness by filling with from a position of strength. Sources expect the team to sign Willy Hernangomez, last year's second-round pick and former teammate of Kristaps Porzingis, whom they anticipate will be a rotation player this year for them.
But Jackson clearly isn't done dealing, so let's wait and see what he has planned next.