The Los Angeles Lakers are nearing the finish line of their offseason and plan on meeting with unrestricted free agent Derrick Rose sometime Thursday, reports Brian Windhorst and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The market for Rose has been cold at best, and reports indicate that the Cleveland Cavaliers are the leading candidate to land the former NBA Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year. Cleveland can only offer him a minimum contract.
The Lakers have been clear that landing a “veteran” mentor to play with Lonzo Ball is high on their priority list. They took a crack at it when they met with George Hill, and appear to be on track to take their next shot with Rose. The Lakers can offer a slightly-larger contract than Cleveland.
Rose is coming off of one of his best years in some time, averaging 18 points per game with the New York Knicks. He’s far from the dynamic, explosive point guard that was taking the league by storm prior to numerous knee injuries, though.
He’s also not a three-point shooter (21.7% last season, 29.8% career), nor is he a defender, nor is he much of a facilitator. These are three of the cornerstones of the identity the Lakers have been looking for in the roster they’ve built.
It sounds like Rose might be getting close to decision time, and as always the case, you never know how much the Lakers threat is being used as leverage by a player’s camp. Either way, LA is set to meet with him, which means more news will follow very shortly.
Until then, this is the meat of what the collaborative ESPN report had to say about the Rose situation (via ESPN):
Playing on a contender is a factor for Rose. If he agrees to a deal in Cleveland, it would also allow him to be close to family in Chicago...
The Lakers are trying to entice Rose to sign with them, suggesting they can offer more playing time and money in a better environment after Rose's tumultuous season in New York, sources said.
The Lakers think Rose can help the development of rookie point guard Lonzo Ball.
Rose has been working out at the Lakers practice facility lately.
If you had to stop and re-read that last sentence multiple times, welcome to the club. Haynes added this detail about Rose’s mindset on Twitter as well:
Sources say Derrick Rose "just wants to play ball," so it appears whichever team can sell its atmosphere, defined role will have advantage.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 20, 2017
And now we wait.