Russell Westbrook
AP Photo

The New York Knicks were reportedly never interested in trading for superstar point guard Russell Westbrook.

When the Oklahoma City Thunder traded Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers earlier this month, Russell Westbrook reportedly wanted out as well.

There was then some discussion if the New York Knicks should trade for Westbrook, who’s an eight-time NBA All-Star. Some fans didn’t think it’d be a good idea, and some couldn’t look past what Westbrook has done in this league and the hypothetical that he could do the same in The Garden.

However, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, the Knicks never actually were interested in trading for the former MVP.

Zillgitt writes, “From what I was told, the Knicks never had interest in trading for Russell Westbrook when he became available. Yes, the Knicks missed out on big stars in free agency and had a few PR snafus. But they remained true to their word and were focused on their rebuild without giving up assets. They signed free agents to reasonable deals that still give them salary cap flexibility in 2020 and 2021”

The Knicks went with giving free agents shorter-term deals as they look to rebuild from their worst season in franchise history (17-65 in 2018). New York signed Julius Randle, Wayne Ellington, Taj Gibson, Elfrid Payton, Bobby Portis and Reggie Bullock.

The Thunder eventually traded Westbrook to the Houston Rockets and received a big haul for him. Oklahoma City received two future first-round picks, two pick swaps, and nine-time All-Star Chris Paul.

They got an even bigger haul when they sent George to LA. In that trade, the Thunder received guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, forward Danilo Gallinari, three first-round picks from the Clippers (2022, 2024, and 2026), two first-round picks via the Miami Heat (2021 and 2023), along with the right to swap first-round picks in 2023 and 2025 with the Clippers.

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.