The New York Knicks' search for a star has come up empty since the departure of Carmelo Anthony in 2017. Years of bad decision making and poor team management have made the Knickerbockers a literal joke within the NBA community.
Still, not all is lost for the Orange and Blue. With the hiring of Tom Thibodeau, a respected name among players and executives alike, the team has taken a promising step in the right direction.
Could a big trade be their next move? Contrary to popular belief, the Knicks do have a number of assets to work with that includes expiring contracts, several talented young players, and the 8th pick in this year's draft. In an article on Fansided’s Sir Charles In Charge, Jonathan Kiernan explained how the Knicks could use those assets to acquire Rockets superstar Russell Westbrook.
Mark my words. The Houston Rockets are going to blow this roster up. Expect Russell Westbrook to be the first causality.
Enter stage right the New York Knicks. Who has expiring contracts, pieces that fit the Rockets’ system, and who is more than willing to take on Russell Westbrook’s contract? These guys!!!
Julius Randle is the perfect small-ball center for the Houston Rockets who can average 20 a game. Wayne Ellington and his 3-point shooting offer Harden and D’Antoni another shooter on the perimeter.
In New York, Russ would be allowed to shoot all he likes and he would be the face of the franchise of the New York Knicks. His name and game alone would give the Knicks a real chance to land a second Superstar.
Ellington and Randle are not stars by any stretch, but would they need to be? Harden has shown he is capable of leading solo and the Rockets have already shown their commitment to small-ball. Acquiring guys who can fit their system may prove more valuable than trying to make their system fit around a second star.
In Ntilikina, Houston gets a solid defensive point guard that can further increase the potency of their perimeter defense. And that draft pick could be used in a future trade.
Obviously, the Knicks get the best player in the deal, and having Westbrook would be a huge deal for a franchise who has desperately been searching for a face.
It goes without saying that Houston's activity this offseason depends on how far they get in these playoffs. We can speculate all we want, but until we know how it all ends, it will be hard to predict the future of the Russ/harden duo in Houston.
It only makes this postseason that much more interesting.