Sean Deveney writes for Heavy that the two teams could come together a finish a deal after earlier talks at the trade deadline around Rose didn’t get very far. That is because both sides seem to be even more motivated to pull the trigger than at the deadline, Deveney writes.
There is a fair amount of logic to wanting to get a deal done, and it only depends on how much each side now values the assets in play.
At the deadline, several media reports suggested the Lakers and Pistons were in discussions centered on Rose. Some saw it only as proactive in an effort to keep Rose off the Clippers roster, while others saw the Lakers desperately needing to upgrade from Rajon Rondo.
Rondo, as it turns out, had the last laugh and was integral to a Lakers championship, but the veteran point guard is even more of a veteran and now a free agent. Also a free agent is former Pistons and perpetual contractual punching bag Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. After a few lucrative one-year deals in LA, and showing that he truly is a good two-way player in the finals, KCP is looking to get paid to the tune of a long-term deal that sees him through his prime years.
That might be too rich for the Lakers to entertain, and Rose could carry a sizable load on offense even if he isn’t nearly the defender of Caldwell-Pope.
In the original talks, the Pistons had their sights set on young forward and Michigan native Kyle Kuzma. The Lakers, meanwhile, offered Alex Caruso and a pick (presumably a second rounder).
Kuzma did not exactly shine in his first season as the one young prospect the Lakers decided to keep after shipping out Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball in the Anthony Davis deal. He’s been an inefficient scorer, but the Flint native is just 25 years old and could continue to grow.
He’s also about to get awfully expensive and it’s unlikely the Lakers are going to want to commit long-term to Kuzma when he’s still so unproven and they need to push all their chips into a title defense.
Would Kuzma be enough of a return for Rose, who reportedly wouldn’t fetch the first-rounder the Pistons had hoped to secure when making him available? I’m not in love with the idea, but it’s certainly worth cashing in the Rose chip at some point between now and the trade deadline.
To that end, Deveney writes the obvious truth that everyone sees — the Pistons are embarking on a full rebuild and a youth movement after sending out Andre Drummond and releasing Reggie Jackson and Markieff Morris.
The team has few long-term contracts beyond Blake Griffin, and looks to add young players and picks as it restocks its pretty bare shelves. That means Rose is almost certainly not finishing out the second year of his two-year deal in Detroit.
It doesn’t, however, mean that he will be moved to the Lakers or even moved before the start of next season. The Pistons have no point guard depth, and could look to Rose to provide some early mentorship and example setting if the Pistons draft a point guard in the first round of the NBA Draft. They could also think he could fetch more at the deadline than he would this offseason. I find that unlikely, but we’ll see.
Regarding the potential draft picks the Lakers have available assuming you’re not enamored with either Kyle Kuzma or Alex Caruso. The Lakers ability to trade first round picks is constrained by the Davis trade. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the Lakers can trade their 2020 pick (No. 28) on draft night but are otherwise unable to trade a first until 2027.