Russell Westbrook had a great season this year with the Houston Rockets, averaging 27.2 PPG, 7.9 RPG, and 7.0 APG while helping the team grab the 4th seed in a crowded Western Conference. He is clearly one of the best point guards in the NBA with the ability to lead a team in every major statistical category because of his triple-double ability.
For the Knicks, they have been lacking a superstar since Carmelo Anthony and have a roster filled with young talent and veterans that don’t mix. The Rockets, on the other hand, have James Harden and are in win-now mode while Harden is in his prime. Houston can strike a deal to move Russ to New York for a host of talented players to help James in Houston. The Knicks can therefore have something to finally cheer about and enjoy watching in Russell Westbrook.
Here is why the trade makes a ton of sense for both franchises.
Trade Package: Julius Randle, Taj Gibson, Kevin Knox, Dennis Smith Jr, 27th overall pick, 2021 Mavericks pick for Russell Westbrook
New York Get A Franchise Player To Join R.J. Barrett
The Knicks moved on from the Carmelo Anthony era quickly. They traded him away upon his request, then gave in to Kristaps Porzingis desire to leave as well. Losing Porzingis was an utter disaster and just goes to show how poorly the Knicks management is run. Now, they are scrambling and are lucky to have Duke sensation, R.J. Barrett, on the squad. Everything they do must be to build around Barrett and help him develop into an NBA superstar. After all, he has certainly shown flashes that he can become one.
The Knicks have made the right steps by hiring Tom Thibodeau, a defensive mind and no-nonsense coach who wants results. Thibs will bring a focused mind to help steer the team’s culture, while also developing Barrett as much as possible. By acquiring Russell Westbrook, another no-nonsense player who plays hard, the Knicks are on the right path. Russ is no longer the MVP caliber player that we saw when KD left OKC, at least based on last season, but he is still one of the 15 best players in the league. Russ and Barrett is a great start to a strong team in the making if they can add more pieces.
The Knicks also have the 8th pick in the NBA Draft meaning they can add a third great piece to the starting lineup. The Knicks should not settle for being at the bottom of the conference anymore and start making moves. Russell Westbrook is a fan favorite and dominant NBA star who sells out seats, and will finally give Knicks fans something to cheer about.
Rockets Get Out Of Westbrook’s Contract And Add Key Players
James Harden is a top-5 player in the NBA. That should be enough to be positive, even if the Rockets franchise lost both Mike D’Antoni and Daryl Morey as they stepped down from their roles. There will be new changes in Houston, and James Harden has even more pressure than ever to deliver. Luckily, the Rockets have some nice pieces in Robert Covington and Eric Gordon to help. Adding some of the Knicks’ quality talent and big men could allow the smaller guys to prosper.
Julius Randle isn’t an All-Star, but he is close to it. He averaged 19.5 PPG and 9.7 RPG this season as the Knicks’ best player, and he will be a nice addition inside the paint. Taj Gibson also gives some much-needed size and veteran leadership in the paint for Harden to use for his dimes inside. Kevin Knox, a promising all-around forward, is very raw but can be the perfect player for Houston in the long-term. The Rockets gave away their future for Russell Westbrook, and now they can make amends for that.
Most importantly, they get a nice pick to add to their negligible collection at the moment. Harden won’t be a superstar forever, so Houston can continue adding picks to prepare for the future. When you have James Harden, anything is possible. Giving the team more big men can be a positive thing as they look to shock everyone next season and also prepare for the future.