The saga of Derrick Rose and the Cleveland Cavaliers has a new twist. After taking time away from the team to evaluate whether or not he wanted to continue playing basketball, Rose returned to the team with the intention of completing his rehab and playing. Now, Rose is approaching the point where he can play again and apparently has a place in the rotation waiting for him.
On Friday, Tyronn Lue explained that Rose’s return will allow the Cavs to better manage Dwyane Wade’s minutes, in an effort to keep him fresh for the playoffs. From cleveland.com:
“I think playing D Wade on a lot of back to backs has been tough for him,” Lue said Friday, after the team practiced in Orlando. “Some games where he doesn’t feel great, but we don’t really have the extra ball handler to sit him. So when D Rose gets back, he’ll definitely help with that and help with D Wade getting his rest and being able to feel good on the floor.”
It’s unclear if Rose will primarily play in games where Wade rests, or if they will split ball-handling responsibilities with the second unit.
Regardless of what role Rose plays, it’s clear that the Cavs are about to go through a to go through serious period of transition. Not only are they working Tristan Thompson into the rotation, but they are going to need to figure out how to play with Isaiah Thomas in the starting lineup and Rose off the bench.
With the team already on a slide, things may get worse before they get better. When you look at the upcoming schedule, this isn’t the time of year that you would ideally want to tinker with your rotation. But all of these changes are in the name of preparing for the playoffs, which is the only true focus of this veteran roster.
It’s hard not to feel for Jose Calderon, who apparently will fall out of the rotation once Rose returns. He has fit very well with this team and lineups with him have been much more productive than they were with Rose.
Some of this feels like when the team started Wade to appease his ego, before adjusting to what was best for the team. It’s possible that this move is being done to showcase Rose in order to package him in a deal when the deadline comes around. Or maybe the team just wants a more dynamic player with the second unit. It’s possible that Rose fits better with the up-tempo play of the second unit. Either way, the Cavs are moving forward with a lot more questions than a contender would normally have three months into the season.