Bulls Urged to Replace Lonzo Ball With $43M Former Franchise Cornerstone

Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

Getty Derrick Rose #4 of the New York Knicks warms up.

At this point, the focus of the Chicago Bulls season has – or at least should have – turned from contention to reflection in the wake of their third straight loss and sixth in the last eight games. The back-to-back losses to the New York Knicks brought both of those ideas together.

Knicks guard Derrick Rose returned to the floor for the first time in 15 games after being removed from the Knicks rotation in favor of second-year guard Miles “Deuce” McBride. He was met by a chorus of cheers from a United Center crowd with very little reason to cheer as the Bulls were trailing by 28 points with 3:31 to go when he entered.

“It was amazing,” Rose said per NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson. “I tried to hold it in. But always getting acknowledged like that, it means a lot. We did a lot here. I’m happy I was able to get in.”

Perhaps that was a signal to a front office that should be searching for answers.

Bulls Should Bring Rose Home

“Forget honoring him, maybe the Bulls should trade for him,” argues Jon Greenberg of The Athletic. “Rose is making $14 million so it wouldn’t be easy. But a source close to the team floated that idea Friday night…In truth, other teams probably have the same idea. He’ll play again this year.”

Rose was drafted first overall in the 2008 NBA Draft and helped lead the Bulls to seven straight postseason appearances and even became the youngest MVP in league history at 22 years old in just his third NBA season.

“It would be awesome to see it,” the Chicago native said of one day having his jersey retired by the Bulls, “but it’s years away from that right now,”.

The Bulls can go a step further in ensuring it happens on the best of terms.

Bulls Get:

Knicks Get:

The former MVP was sure to point out that he was not removed from the Knicks’ rotation due to his performance. He is averaging 6.3 points – which would be the lowest of his career over an entire season – on 48.5% true shooting.

After knocking down at least 37% of his triples in three of the four previous seasons, Rose is shooting just 34.6% from deep this season.

Rose has two years and over $30 million remaining on his deal with a club option in Year 2.

Reddish, 24, has also been removed from the rotation after the Knicks gave up a first-round pick (via the Charlotte Hornets) to acquire him from the Atlanta Hawks last season. Drafted with the 10th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the 6-foot-8 wing has yet to establish himself in the NBA but has been linked to the Los Angeles Lakers among other teams in recent trade rumors.

Moving off Vucevic would get him off the Bulls’ books in the final year of his contract while upgrading the Knicks on the perimeter and playmaking from the center position. There are no plans for an extension so this would avoid the possibility of losing him for nothing.

It’s unclear how much of a need the Knicks have for the veteran big man, however.

The Knicks have Mitchell Robinson with free agent acquisition Isaiah Hartenstein and athletic youngster Jericho Sims backing him up.

The selling point for the Bulls is clear, though. It’s Rose, both for basketball and nostalgia reasons in what is quickly turning into a lost — and foreboding – season for the Bulls and vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas.

A Necessary Distraction

Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley have been under fire after their message of continuity has been met with underwhelming results. The Bulls failed to truly address their three-point shooting and point guard issues this summer. Their only in-season move to this point has been signing point guard Carlik Jones to a two-way contract.

Getting Lonzo Ball back would go a long way toward solving both issues but he has not been on the court in a competitive capacity since mid-January and might miss this entire season.

This only adds to the reasons the Bulls should try to re-acquire Rose, says Greenberg.

“The Bulls are a shell of themselves, listless and losing. So yes, history is repeating itself. And once again, they could use Rose, on and off the court.”