The Houston Rockets are going through an offseason of much change that could include Russell Westbrook‘s departure. The trade market continues to take shape for Westbrook as the offseason moves into full swing. The New York Knicks have now entered the picture as a potential landing spot on a particular condition.
Russell Westbrook reportedly demands trade
The Houston Rockets are coming off yet another disappointing close to their season, resulting in an early playoff exit.
Things have quickly shifted into high gear in Houston over the last few days, with internal issues becoming prominent. Among those has seen star guard Russell Westbrook reportedly request a trade from the Rockets.
Westbrook has just completed his first season with the team after his longtime friend and former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate James Harden pushed Houston to acquire him. The 32-year-old had a strong showing in the regular season and performed exceptionally well next to the fellow former NBA MVP.
However, things hit a significant snag in the restarted Orlando Bubble situation. Westbrook dealt with COVID-19, while a nagging quad injury limited his availability and performance in the playoffs. He worked through the ailment to take the floor in the postseason, in which his play was impacted.
Westbrook shot just 24.2% from 3-point range in the playoffs and averaged 17.2 points in the second round against the LA Lakers. All that has guided things toward ramped up trade talks, which the Knicks could be in the picture on a particular condition.
How Russell Westbrook could land with the Knicks
Since Russell Westbrook reportedly demanded a trade from the Rockets, a few teams mentioned as potential landing spots.
The New York Knicks have been quickly circled as entering the picture as a possible new NBA home for the star guard. According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks’ interest in Westbrook lays on the foundation of a deal that is more toward a discounted price tag than a significant package of assets.
“Reports state the explosive point guard wants out, Berman stated. “The Knicks feel they have a lot of leverage and aren’t trying to give up any key future pawns, according to sources. Their potential interest could stem from using it as a scare tactic with OKC in any Paul talks.”
The Knicks have a glaring need to add superstar talent to the mix as the team is void of that. Since moving Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony, the franchise has pieced together youth and a veteran presence throughout their roster.
Adding Westbrook would help give them a star player to build around to finally push forward. His presence could also give second-year guard R.J. Barrett a highly dependable backcourt mate to work alongside. There is much that can change, but the Knicks are in the picture if the asking price is within their preferred range.
Trade market continues to slowly develop
Although there may not be a public statement from the Rockets concerning Russell Westbrook’s availability, it’s certainly known around the league.
There hasn’t been much movement, but the market should develop as the offseason moves along ahead of the December start for the 2020-21 season. With the 2020 NBA draft taking place on Wednesday and free agency beginning soon after on Nov. 20, there should be much more clarity of what teams may make a strong push for the star guard.
The LA Clippers have already been linked to Westbrook as a potential landing spot. The organization is reportedly looking for point guard help, and the 32-year-old fits that bill with his ability to playmake with his scoring and passing.
The Charlotte Hornets have also expressed interest in Westbrook, which he has a strong connection to team owner and Hall of Famer Michael Jordan. He currently has an endorsement deal with Jordan Brand and could step in as the face of the franchise.
The situation can go many different routes, but it’s something that could develop quickly in the shortened offseason.