Kyle Kuzma might be pondering this next point: With the 2020 NBA Trade Deadline rapidly approaching and the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly seeking additions to their roster, what Derrick Rose has done for the Detroit Pistons should be catching their attention. Rose’s basketball odyssey is well-known by most hardcore hoop fans, but a deal to land the former MVP would be more than a feel-good story — it may be the final piece to a championship roster.
Derrick Rose has played 11 games in the month of January and averaged 22.7 points and 6.2 assists in those contests, all while shooting 51.3 percent from the field overall. He has missed just one game since Nov. 12 and is in the midst of a stretch that has seen him reach the 20-point plateau in each of his last nine games. His addition to the Los Angeles roster would give the team a guard (outside of LeBron James) who can create his own shot and — maybe more importantly — one who can key the second unit. Rose has come off the bench in 34 of the 39 games that he has appeared this season and would step seamlessly into the role that he already plays, that of dynamic scorer, while also giving the team another ball-handling option to be on the floor for the closing stretch of most contests.
From the perspective of the Pistons, Derrick Rose is a hot commodity that teams will likely pay a hefty price tag to acquire. There is arguably no more well-regarded asset likely available at the Deadline than Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma, who has scuffled to find his role amid the 2019-20 installment of Los Angeles basketball. The organization held out on including him in last summer’s deal to acquire Anthony Davis, but that may have been a prescient move if it means getting to add Rose to the fold for the season’s stretch run.
Kuzma, a Flint, Mich., native, would be returning to Detroit as a key piece to the puzzle moving forward. Entering play Thursday, the Pistons sit just 2.5 games out of a playoff spot, but after making the postseason last year with a healthy Blake Griffin, it’s difficult to imagine that the team thinks it could make a legitimate run with him sidelined. It will be a pivotal off-season for the organization as it decides whether or not to offer center Andre Drummond a max contract, and having a headline piece for the future in Kuzma gives reason for optimism no matter the outcome.
As is normally the case in such deals, the two franchises would likely have to finagle player salaries and Draft pick compensation to make everything go off without a hitch. But assuming that they could both make the finances work and come to an agreement centered around sending Rose to LA and Kuzma to Detroit, the NBA could have it’s first relative blockbuster deal since the summer, one that could have a major impact on the future of both organizations.