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Knicks Emerge As Potential Russell Westbrook Suitor

Knicks Emerge As Potential Russell Westbrook Suitor

Knicks Emerge As Potential Russell Westbrook Suitor

James Harden and Russell Westbrook were eliminated from the playoffs by the Los Angeles Lakers this past season.

Following a surprising Game 1 upset victory, the Rockets dropped four straight outings in disappointing fashion.

On the flight back home to Houston, head coach Mike D’Antoni announced that he was leaving.

Based on how this year came to an end for the Rockets, it is clear that improvements need to be made. What is less clear, however, is how precisely the team aims to make them.

James Harden is owed $41.3 million in 2020-21. Russell Westbrook is due $41.4 million. Eric Gordon will command $16.9 million.

By 2022-23, those three guys alone will be pulling in $114 million combined.

It will be difficult to reshape the roster around what Houston’s new head coach’s wants with that much cash tied up. Someone needs to go.

Harden has been essential to the Rockets’ identity over the past decade, so Westbrook feels like the odd man out.

The question is: who would take him and his massive deal?

Recently, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report spoke to an Eastern Conference executive who suggested the New York Knicks as a possible suitor.

“I think we all realize that Harden and Westbrook aren’t the perfect fit for one another,” the Eastern Conference executive told Pincus.

“But I think they might just have to move forward with those two and continue to try to build the roster around them. The [New York] Knicks might be one of the only teams that could be a fit for Westbrook.”

The Knicks have made it no secret that they want to part ways with Julius Randle ASAP. If the front office were to use some combination of him and one of the other 30 forwards on the team’s roster, New York could offer the Rockets some big man depth in return for a proven star in Westbrook.

Obviously, the move comes with some risks. Many believe Westbrook’s best days are behind him and that he will not age as gracefully as players less reliant on their pure athleticism.

The flip side to that coin is: who can they get that is better? Countless free agents have passed them by in recent years, including both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving just last year.

Who could the Knicks realistically look forward to signing? Giannis Antetokounmpo? Unlikely. Paul George or Kawhi Leonard, if the Los Angeles Clippers fall apart? Maybe – but also doubtful.

There has been some idle chatter regarding doing something for Devin Booker, but other than that, there is no one that is actually being linked to the Knicks aside from Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Victor Oladipo.

Signing Westbrook makes roughly as much sense as signing any of those guys.

This is going to be an interesting offseason for the Knicks.

With Leon Rose now at the helm, the strategy he employs over the next few months will be very telling as it pertains to the direction of the franchise.

Could Westbrook land in the Big Apple next year? When the Knicks are involved – never say never.

Related: A Chris Paul To The Knicks Trade Is On The Table

Charles Kruger

Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7's go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.

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