A new report suggests that the Detroit Pistons were close to trading point guard Derrick Rose to the Los Angeles Lakers, only for the Western Conference leaders to reject the deal because it involved one of their top backup players.
As noted by Heavy, the aforementioned rumors were discussed earlier this week by ESPN’s Jorge Sedano, who said on the Mason & Ireland Show that he had heard “rumblings” about the Lakers rejecting a trade offer that would have allowed them to acquire Rose for Alex Caruso, a future second-round draft pick, and “salary filler.” While Sedano stressed that he cannot absolutely confirm the rumors, which he said he learned via “hushed tones and whispers,” Heavy pointed out that Los Angeles’ apparent refusal to make a deal underscores Caruso’s status as a fan favorite and an important part of the Lakers’ reserve corps.
According to Basketball-Reference, Caruso is currently averaging 5.5 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game as part of a point guard rotation that also includes veteran Rajon Rondo and seldom-used youngster Quinn Cook. None of these players, however, are regular starters, as superstar forward LeBron James has been moved to the point, where he has posted averages of 25.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, and a team-leading 10.7 assists.
At the moment, it’s not clear whether the Lakers will make another attempt at trading for Rose, the injury-prone 2011 MVP who has continued his resurgence with the Pistons. However, Heavy cited a separate report from The Athletic, which claims that Detroit is hoping to receive a first-round pick in exchange for the 31-year-old.
Rose is on the first season of a two-year contract and is among the multiple Pistons players that are expected to be on the move ahead of the February 6 trade deadline, with the team sporting a 17-29 record and widely rumored to be entering a rebuilding process. Despite playing just 26.6 minutes per game and playing a reserve role, the three-time All-Star is averaging 18.8 points and six assists, leading the team in both categories, per the Pistons’ team page on Basketball-Reference.
Despite leading the Western Conference with 36 wins and 10 losses and having the second-best record in the entire NBA, the Lakers have been featured in several trade rumors in the weeks leading up to next week’s deadline. Forward Kyle Kuzma has been mentioned in many of these reports, including one that recommended a deal that would send him and Cook to the Pistons and move Rose to Los Angeles, where he could potentially excel as a true point guard who continues to put up big numbers despite his slightly advanced age and injury history.