Another day, another superstar has been linked to the New York Knicks.
The Ringer’s NBA insider Kevin O’Connor dropped some bombshell on The Mismatch podcast on Tuesday.
“It is interesting the last 24 hours. I did have multiple sources that I trust tell me that teams believe Russell Westbrook could be had—that Westbrook could be had—and I’ve heard the Clippers have interest, I’ve heard the Knicks have interest in Westbrook, and whether anything materializes there, who knows? Who knows? But the fact is that there is a belief that a guy like Westbrook could become available,” O’Connor said.
Both the Knicks and the Clippers need a capable lead guard to right their respective ships.
The Clippers squandered a 3-1 series lead to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals.
The Knicks, on the other hand, have missed the postseason for the seventh straight season.
Westbrook, who will turn 32 on Thursday, is owed $132.5 million over the next three years with a $47 million player option in 2022. He is coming off his first season with the Rockets in which he averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.0 assists.
Westbrook helped the Rockets reach the Western Conference semifinals but lost to eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers in five games after winning the series opener.
Westbrook came to the Rockets via trade from Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Chris Paul, who is reportedly on the move again.
Paul, who has also been linked to the Knicks, is now the subject of a trade discussion between the Phoenix Suns and the Thunder, as per ESPN.
Rockets owner Tillman Fertitta, meanwhile, has maintained that “there’s no reason to blow up” the team’s core.
“This is still our window, the next couple of years. James [Harden] and Russell are in their early 30s,” Fertitta said last month. “We’re not blowing up anything. We plan on contending.”
Appearing on The First Take last week, new Rockets head coach Paul Silas said he expects Westbrook and Harden to remain with the team.
“As far as James [Harden], he is our guy,” Silas said during his live interview on ESPN. “In the interview process, I talked to both James and Russell [Westbrook], to let them know, the reason why I wanted this job was because of them. I expect those guys to be here.”
Silas added the Rockets plan to add a traditional center as the team moves on from former GM Daryl Morey’s small-ball approach.
But with 90 percent of the team’s salaries already tied to the trio of Harden, Westbrook, and Eric Gordon, the Rockets have limited options to upgrade their roster.
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