Free agent point guard Derrick Rose is set to sign a one-year, $2.1 million deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, US media reported on Monday.
Rose, the youngest player to win the NBA Most Valuable Player award when he took the trophy in 2011, met with Cavs officials in Ohio on Monday.
Cleveland.com reported he had agreed to join the Eastern Conference champions “after spending the day discussing how the team will return to the Finals without Kyrie Irving.”
ESPN, citing league sources, also reported Rose and the Cavs had come to terms.
Cleveland’s talks with Rose, reported last week, took on an added urgency in the wake of reports that 25-year-old guard Irving has requested a trade, indicating he no longer wanted to play in the shadow of Cavaliers superstar LeBron James.
Rose, 28, could add a backcourt spark for the Cavaliers as they try to mount a tougher challenge to Golden State.
The Cavs reached the NBA finals each of the past three seasons, falling to the Warriors in 2015, capturing the trophy over the Warriors in 2016, and falling again to Golden State this season.
If Rose does join the Cavaliers, Golden State and Cleveland would have every NBA MVP from 2009 through 2016.
James won the award in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013.
Golden State forward Kevin Durant won it in 2014 while playing with Oklahoma City, and Warriors guard Stephen Curry was MVP in 2015 and 2016.
Rose averaged 18 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 64 games for the New York Knicks last season. He was acquired in a trade with the Chicago Bulls, but the 2016-17 season ended in another injury as he hit free agency for the first time.
Rose’s time with the Bulls was marred by a series of knee injuries, the first of them torn left knee ligaments in the opening game of the 2012 playoffs.
He missed the entire 2012-13 season and played less than a month into the 2013-14 campaign before a season-ending right knee injury. He missed 20 games in the 2014-15 season after another right knee operation. – Agence France-Presse