Wednesday , Nov , 01 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Jalen Rose: Will Play for Food

Jalen Rose is looking for work.

The nine year veteran swing man was cut this week by the New York Knicks, yet another bad personnel move by the crack pipes in NY. With no real explanation Rose was let go in a buyout, ending a bad situation with the Knicks, and freeing up the 34-year-old Rose to sign with another team.

Jalen Rose: Will Play for FoodThe scathing rhetoric that could be tossed at the Knicks right now is almost too much to pass up, but I’ll have to save it for later. Besides, I’ll have all season to ridicule the Knickerbockers. Jalen Rose is free to sign with the team of his choice by about mid-day today. For all I know, by the time you read this he may have already signed with a team, so I better get my analysis on while I still can.

    There are two teams where Rose is likely to end up, Miami and Detroit, both of which are contenders. Pat Riley of the Heat and Joe Dumars of the Pistons have both expressed interest in bringing Rose to their respective clubs, albeit in what would likely be a limited role. Regardless, there’s no doubt both teams could use a veteran who can shoot the ball and make plays for his teammates. The only real questions are: which team does Jalen fit better with? And which team will he actually sign with?

    Detroit is naturally the team that jumps out at you first. Anyone who knows anything about Jalen Rose knows he’s a Detroit native and pretty much a local hero there, tracing all the way back to his high school days. The mere thought of suiting up in a Pistons uniform must make the dude salivate. Playing for the home town team and getting a chance to play for a championship – it doesn’t get much better than that.

    But how would Jalen fit in with Detroit? Being a go-to guy for a majority of his career, he would have to make the adjustment to a lesser role with the Pistons. Joe Dumars had already made that much clear. "I told Jalen that he would have a limited role here in Detroit." While Rose certainly won’t step in as the main option in Detroit’s offense, his scoring ability and versatility would be a huge asset coming off the bench. Beyond Lindsay Hunter and Antonio McDyess, the Pistons have been lacking depth the past couple of years. To be able to bring Rose off the bench to supplement the offense of starting guards Rip Hamilton and Chauncey Billups is a benefit the Pistons hadn’t been afforded in the past.

    Since the buyout in New York left with Rose with a comfortable portion of the salary owed to him, money shouldn’t be a divisive issue. The tipping point will be how many minutes and shot attempts can be sent Rose’s way on the Pistons, and how he accepts that.

    The second option for Rose is in South Beach, with the Miami Heat. As if the defending champs don’t have enough firepower already, another offense piece would only further solidify them as favorites in the East.

    Not that I’m one to make much of one game, particularly on opening night, but if you happened to catch Miami’s season opener against the Bulls, than I’m sure you can see how adding an additional scorer to the mix could definitely benefit the Heat. In last night’s 108-66 loss Dwyane Wade was the only Heat player in double figures. Even in the opening moments of the game, Wade scored his team’s first three buckets, and 13 of the Heat’s first 17 points. While I was certainly enjoying Wade do what he does, I couldn’t help but think, ‘when is this guy gonna get some help?’

    I’m as a big a fan of Shaq as anyone, but it’s obvious the Big Fella is on the decline, and while he remains one of the few elite centers in the game, it’s now apparent the Heat are in need of more offensive support for Dwyane Wade than Shaq alone can provide. Antoine Walker and Jason Williams have filled that role at times, but both are known to be streaky at best. And with Williams hurt and Gary Payton only getting older, help in the back court may be just what the Heat to make another run.

    Rose would likely have a some what larger role with the Heat, if only because of injury and the system that now seems to revolve around Wade. Jalen would make a perfect compliment to the Heat and, if you ask me, it’s the best choice for him and his most likely destination.


Did we forget?

    Somewhere in all this – Rose being essentially waived, speculating where he might go next – it feels like people have forgot, Jalen Rose is still one hell of a basketball player. He’s been a twenty point scorer (or close to it) for most of his career, has played in the NBA Finals, and is one of the few players in the league who can legitimately play all three perimeter positions.

    While I don’t think Rose can regain his form from that 99-03 stretch of his career, he’s still a proven and reliable veteran with experience and poise. He’s not some low level prospect or a washed up old has been – he’s a damn fine ball player. Whoever lands the lefty wearing "Rose" on the back of a jersey is getting a huge addition to their ball club.

    There’s a bunch of questions that could be asked right now, about what brain storming session led the Knicks to letting Rose go and about what team will pick him up. But the real question is: did we forget? Did we forget what this man was once capable of? And more importantly did we forget that he’s still got plenty of his game left just because the disaster in NY prevented that from being displayed?

    Maybe you did forget. After being exiled in Toronto and New York, maybe the whole league forgot. Well if you did, if they did, I thought I’d take the time to remind you. Jalen Rose has still got game. Now if only he could find work.