The Detroit Pistons are the worst team in basketball, but they do have some good players. Jerami Grant has been a revelation and Saddiq Bey looks like a longtime three-and-D piece even through only a dozen games of his rookie season. Dwane Casey has coached up the team enough that they, at the very least, are not getting blown out. They're losing, but they are competitive losers.
And all the while, Derrick Rose has quietly been producing as the first man off the bench. Rose is averaging 14 points per game while shooting 43 percent from the floor in around 23 minutes per night. Not eye-popping numbers by any means, but that's solid productivity and efficiency for a bench guy.
Detroit loves Rose and Rose likes Detroit, but given Rose is 32-years-old and the Pistons are embarking upon the first season of a massive rebuild, an eventual trade was inevitable. The wheels began to turn on Tuesday afternoon as Shams Charania reported Detroit is fielding calls for Rose's services. The return will not be immense; Rose is a fine and productive player, but Detroit won't be getting a first-rounder for him by any means. Here are four teams that could use Rose as the season grows long.
New York Knicks
The Knicks are one of two teams mentioned by Charania as having already called the Pistons to inquire after Rose. They are similar to the Pistons as a rebuilding squad looking for a solid veteran presence to teach the youth how it's done in the NBA, and thus Rose's true value to this New York franchise does not reside in the wins column. That also means the Knicks are not going to be offering up the farm to get Rose. They do, however, own the Pistons' second-round pick in 2021, which could very well end up as the No. 31 pick in the draft, along with the Hornets' second-round pick, which will be a bit lower. If that's all it will take to get Rose, the Knicks may as well go for it. Tom Thibodeau loves him and burning a second on a mentoring player who can still play is a good, if lateral, move.
Los Angeles Clippers
The other team mentioned by Shams in his initial report, the Clippers, are in a different stratosphere than either the Pistons or the Knicks. Obviously. Their aim is to win a championship and they want it done this year. Rose is steadier than Lou Williams in terms of production, averaging six more points per game than the multi-time Sixth Man of the Year award winner in only four more minutes per game. He'd give them a boost around the edges, and championship contenders constantly strive to improve on the margins. The Clippers also have four second-round picks from the Pistons and Brooklyn Nets after the three-way deal on draft night this year that sent Luke Kennard to L.A. from Detroit and Landry Shamet to Brooklyn. The Brooklyn picks aren't worth much in the short-term, but Detroit could be interested in taking back the 2025-2026 second-rounders they sent out a few months ago.
Golden State Warriors
If the Warriors could use anything at all this season, it's a player who can make any shots at all besides Steph Curry. His supporting cast has been inconsistent, to be nice about it, through the opening charge of the season. Their offense craters when Curry hits the bench. That isn't a huge surprise given Klay Thompson's continued absence, but it's still an issue for a organization that fancies itself a playoff squad. Rose would be enormously helpful in simply keeping the ship afloat when the Warriors are forced to sit their linchpin players in the middle of quarters. Golden State owns Minnesota's second-round pick this year, which could end up being pretty good if the Timberwolves continue their downward spiral. But if they're reluctant to give that up, a 2022 second-round pick from Toronto could get the job done.
Speaking of teams that could use a steady hand when a star sits, the Mavericks should be in play for Rose. Like the Warriors, they aim to make a playoff run this year. And like the Warriors, they're struggling to produce when their primary ballhandler isn't on the floor (in this case Luka Doncic), ranking 23rd in the NBA in bench scoring so far this season. Even if Rose's production dropped slightly, the Mavs would still skyrocket to the upper third of the league in that category with his addition. Dallas owns their second-round picks both this year and next, although they may be reluctant to give up the 2021 pick because their first-rounder is owned by the Knicks. In terms of fit, though, there are few contending teams that need Rose more right now.