NEW YORK (AP) — Derrick Rose was once writing a great NBA story, the hometown kid leading the Chicago Bulls to their greatest heights since Michael Jordan.
Then injuries set in, and Rose may never again play at that dazzling level.
The player he is now could still be an upgrade for the New York Knicks.
The Knicks acquired Rose from the Bulls on Wednesday, hoping the former NBA MVP can be their answer at point guard.
New coach Jeff Hornacek said recently the Knicks needed a point guard and Rose was one of the NBA’s best before multiple knee injuries slowed the former No. 1 pick’s career. He played in 66 games last season, his most in five years, and averaged 16.4 points.
“This is an exciting day for New York and our fans,” Hornacek said in a statement. “Derrick is one of the top point guards in the NBA who is playoff battle-tested. He adds a whole new dynamic to our roster and immediately elevates our backcourt.”
New York sent center Robin Lopez and guards Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant to the Bulls in the deal. The Knicks also received guard Justin Holiday and a 2017 second-round pick, and waived point guard Tony Wroten.
Rose, 27, struggled just to get on the court over the last four years, and the Bulls dealt him on the eve of the NBA draft with a year left on his contract.
“Derrick has meant a lot to this organization and to this city and to this team and has had to overcome a lot over the years with all the injuries to get back to the point he was,” Bulls general manager Gar Forman said. “But in putting our plan together, we felt as a first step this really made sense for us.”
After missing the playoffs in a disappointing first season under Fred Hoiberg, the Bulls decided to move on without the player they selected with the top pick in the 2008 draft.
It seemed a perfect fit when Rose carried Chicago to the top of the Eastern Conference in the 2010-11 regular season, earning MVP honors and leading the franchise to success it hadn’t enjoyed since Jordan took the Bulls to their last of six titles in 1998 — when they were coached by current Knicks President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson.
But Rose wrecked his knee for the first time in the playoffs the following year and no longer has the speed that once made him one of the league’s most dynamic young stars and a seemingly perennial All-Star, often now settling for unreliable jumpers when he once sped past whoever tried to stay in front of him.
Rose hasn’t been back to the All-Star Game since 2012 and has often had trouble just playing in the real games. He sat out all of the 2012-13 season, made it back for 10 games in 2013-14 and appeared in a little more than half the Bulls’ games in 2014-15.
“He has been through a lot with the injuries. You really have to admire how he continues to work and fight through everything that he’s been through,” Forman said. “In moving forward, we thought the players we were getting in this deal made sense in what we’re trying to accomplish.”
And he could be worth the risk for a Knicks team that has struggled to generate offense.
The veteran Calderon and Grant, a first-round pick last year, were on the roster of a team that started well but faltered badly in the second half on the way to a 32-50 season. The Knicks are expected to transition to a quicker attack under Hornacek than the triangle offense they ran under Derek Fisher and Kurt Rambis, and Rose is better suited for that than anyone the Knicks had.
Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis will benefit if Rose can do it, though they could miss Lopez in a frontcourt that was the team’s strength last season.
Lopez averaged 10.3 points and 7.3 rebounds while starting every game in his only season in New York after leaving Portland for the Knicks last summer.
Rose has averaged 19.7 points and 6.2 assists in 406 career games. The last few years have been hard on him, as they have the Knicks, and maybe they can find success together.
“Derrick’s going to have a very good year. We’re all very confident of that. And we wish Derrick nothing but the best,” Forman said. “I hope he has a terrific year, but at the end of the day we had to make a decision we felt was best for us moving forward.”
AP Sports Writer Andrew Seligman in Chicago contributed to this report.
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