Everything has gone wrong for the Detroit Pistons this season, and they currently sit at ninth in the Eastern Conference with a record of 16-28. While they're technically only two games out of the eighth spot in the playoffs, Blake Griffin underwent knee surgery and is likely out for the season, and the team has already been exploring trade options for Andre Drummond. The front office and ownership seem to have finally recognized that their current core will amount to nothing more than a first-round sweep at best, and are looking to sell their valuable pieces while they can.
Derrick Rose has had a resurgence this year to become one of those valuable pieces. He's averaging 18.4 points and 5.8 assists per game as Detroit's only legitimate scoring threat, usually off the bench. The major downside he comes with is a minutes restriction as a protective measure to ensure he stays healthy, but for a potential contender, that isn't a huge deal; he isn't good enough defensively to warrant more than 15 minutes in an important playoff game, but can score enough to make an impact in limited minutes. He could be very useful to a playoff squad looking for a creator off the bench, and the Lakers and Sixers have already expressed interest, per Chris Haynes. Here are three destinations for the former MVP-turned-bench-scoring spark.
Los Angeles Lakers
The first of two teams who have expressed enough interest to be specifically named, the Lakers desperately need someone who can create their own looks when LeBron James and Anthony Davis hit the bench. The question is if they can offer Detroit an attractive enough package to get him in LA; Rose is only making $7.3 million this year and next, so a simple salary dump isn't in the cards for the Pistons' front office. If the Lakers get desperate and he doesn't improve, Detroit would happily take Kyle Kuzma and DeMarcus Cousins' expiring contract in exchange for Rose. But in the more likely scenario the Lakers want to keep Kuzma, the best they could realistically do is Cousins, Rajon Rondo, and Talen Horton-Tucker or a second-round pick. Rose would be gigantic for the Lakers, given their offensive rating plummets without LeBron on the court, but it remains to be seen if they have enough ammo to get a deal done.
The second team named by Haynes, the Sixers need some effective perimeter scorers to help the spacing in the inaugural season of their big three: Joel Embiid, Al Horford, and Ben Simmons. Rose isn't quite a spacer in the classic sense of the terrm, hitting only 31 percent of his threes on three attempts per game, but he'd give the central figures of Philly's offense a more traditional pick-and-roll guard; this would be hugely valuable for Horford especially, who has struggled to form chemistry with Josh Richardson in pick-and-roll sets. Philadelphia can offer up Zhaire Smith, an intriguing prospect who needs a lot of work and doesn't fit their championship timeline, along with Trey Burke to make the numbers work, and potentially the top-20 protected first-round pick the Thunder owe them. This is probably the best deal on the table for Detroit, and Philadelphia gets a consistent scorer who fits with their stars.
Los Angeles Clippers
Like the two teams above them on this list (and, frankly, like most championship hopefuls), the Clippers sure could use another ballhandler, and Haynes reports they tentatively reached out to Detroit about Rose. While it doesn't sound like they'll be pulling out all the stops to make a deal, this LA team makes equal amounts of sense as a destination for Rose. The Clippers could offer Rodney McGruder and a young player like Derrick Walton Jr. or Terrence Mann to make it worth Detroit's while. Rose comes with the same injury concerns that plague Kawhi Leonard and, to a lesser extent, Paul George, he'd help keep the ship steady when one or both of those guys sit out on back-to-backs. They can't, and probably don't have the desire to, make a stronger offer than most of the teams that come calling, but if interest wanes as the deadline approaches, keep an eye on them as a landing spot.