Prior to his shocking trade to the Houston Rockets, Russell Westbrook reportedly had the New York Knicks on his mind.
According to Ian Begley of SNY, it seems that former MVP Russell Westbrook was at the very least considering the New York Knicks when discussing trade options with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“In the immediate aftermath of he and Oklahoma City talking about potential trades, Westbrook viewed the Knicks as a potential suitor, per SNY sources,” Begley wrote. “It’s unknown if New York was on the ultimate list of teams Westbrook communicated to the Thunder. But, as stated above, the Knicks wouldn’t have been able to trade for Westbrook during the summer.”
As mentioned in the article, a trade for Westbrook was virtually impossible because the Knicks would have to wait until Dec. 15 to absorb Westbrook’s huge contract.
Furthermore, the Knicks, at least for the moment, appear committed to growing the young players such as RJ Barrett, Kevin Knox, Allonzo Trier, and Mitchell Robinson.
From an entertainment standpoint, Westbrook could put people in the seats. Additionally, future battles with Kevin Durant might entice the casual fan, but in the end, it would most likely stunt the development of the Knicks young players and keep the Knicks stagnant in the Eastern Conference standings.
The front office, although we don’t know if they ever had conversations about a Westbrook trade, are more concerned with long-term success instead of a short fix.
In the end, I think most Knicks fans are pretty satisfied not being involved a trade for Westbrook. Despite the logistical barriers, Westbrook is a very polarizing player. For all his heart and determination, there’s not a lot of evidence that he makes players better. Additionally, the exits of both Durant and Paul George leave a bitter taste in the mouths of fans trying to figure Westbrook out.
The Knicks have the flexibility to eventually take on a contract from a disgruntled star, however, in this case, Westbrook was not the right fit.