Why the New York Knicks would say yes to this Russell Westbrook trade
This season started with such promise for the New York Knicks.
But slowly and surely, the Knicks have regressed and are now out of the playoff hunt for the moment.
Last season former Los Angeles Laker Julius Randle was flying high and was carrying the Knicks to heights they have not reached since the days of Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, Jason Kidd, and Tyson Chandler led Knicks.
This season, Randle simply isn’t hitting on all cylinders and when he isn’t on, the Knicks usually lose.
To put it plain and simple. The New York Knicks need someone who when the chips are down, can potentially put the team on his back and carry them to a win. For better or for worse, that player is Russell Westbrook.
Russ isn’t afraid to be criticized, he doesn’t bend or break under pressure and he wants the ball in his hands when the game is on the line. The Knicks, do not have that guy.
So what would it cost to get Russell Westbrook? A lot less than most would expect.
The New York Knicks would part with Evan Fournier, Alec Burks (To the Sacramento Kings), and Kemba Walker (To the Los Angeles Lakers). No Toppin, no Randle, no RJ, no Noel, No Robinson, no Quickley, or even Kevin Knox II.
The Knicks overpaid Fournier and Burks, they would shed their contracts to the Kings.
They were ready to walk away from Kemba, so much so that they cut him out of the rotation. He has a bit of resurgence but still is probably not part of the long-term plans.
No picks involved either which still allows for the Knicks to be aggressive in the trade market or in the Summer.
What about Russell Westbrooks $44,211,146 this year and $47,063,478 next year?
The Lakers have paid nearly half of Westbrooks’s contract this year so the Knicks financially would only be on the hook for around $22m this season.
But what about the $47,063,478 next year? Yes, that will be a heavy cross to bear for the 2022-23 season but the light at the end of the tunnel is if it doesn’t work out Russ and his gaudy contract come off the books in the summer of 2023 and the Knicks free up 47m in cap space that allows for them to be aggressive in free agency when the cap jumps up in 2023.
The Knicks get a go-to star who is a triple-double threat every night, the Knicks fans get a player who plays with heart and passion and who plays angry, everything Knicks fans love. The front office gets to sell more jerseys of Westbrook and they get to press the reset button in 2023 if it doesn’t work out.
They also get the KD vs Russ narrative.
Leon Rose will need to be bold if he is going to push the Knicks into the playoff hunt. Wait too late and they might be out of reach.
Fortune favors the bold.