The New York Knicks are in need of a spark now more than ever before. It has been seven seasons since the franchise last made it to the NBA Playoffs. In 2019-20, the New York Knicks finished with a dismal record of 21-45 and were placed 12th in the Eastern Conference. There isn't much to look forward to for the New York Knicks faithful in the upcoming NBA Draft either, as they have the eighth overall pick. NBA trade rumors instilling hope have been few and far between too.
In such a period of gloom and disappointment, the New York Knicks need a spark that could potentially light a fire. There isn't much of a chance of such a player being available so late in the 2020 NBA Draft. The current free agency class lacks a genuine superstar too. Unsurprisingly then, the only way for the New York Knicks to bring a genuine star to the Madison Square Garden is via a trade.
NBA Trade Rumors - Russell Westbrook could be made available to the New York Knicks
One of the biggest problems that the New York Knicks have right now is their scoring. While they are 17th in the NBA in points allowed per game, the New York Knicks are second from bottom when it comes to points scored. The lack of a reliable scoring threat has been a huge issue for them ever since Kristaps Porzingis suffered an injury before being traded away.
And improving that aspect should be a priority for the New York Knicks this offseason. Their best player this season in terms of scoring was Marcus Morris. The 31-year-old was on a tear from outside the arc as he shot nearly 44% for the New York Knicks. He was subsequently traded to the LA Clippers to help them in their championship bid.
Julius Randle finished a close second with 19.5 points per game, while rookie RJ Barrett improved in the second half of the campaign to finish with healthy figures of 14.3 points per game.
Clearly, there is a lack of a proficient scorer who could drop 30 on any given night. The lack of playmakers on the court barring Elfrid Payton also stunted the New York Knicks' potential offensively. They were 27th in the NBA in assists per game in the 2019-20 season.
It is impossible to fix these worrying issues overnight. But the New York Knicks could significantly improve on both these aspects with a single signing - Russell Westbrook.
Russell Westbrook's career stats
Career points per game - 23.2
Career assists per game - 8.3
Career rebounds per game - 7.1
Career field goal % - 43.7%
Career 3pt % - 30.5%
Russell Westbrook had another excellent regular season which earned him yet another selection in an All-NBA team, albeit the third one. The 31-year-old also received his ninth All-Star selection this season, as he put up incredible stats of 27.2 points, 7 assists, and 7.9 rebounds on 47.2% shooting.
With Westbrook shining in the regular season, the Houston Rockets started believing that they had a backcourt duo dynamic which could lead them to an NBA championship.
However, it wasn't to be, as Russell Westbrook struggled to recreate the form he showed in the regular season in the playoffs. He averaged a playoffs career-low in both assists and points per game, as the Houston Rockets were knocked out in five games by the LA Lakers in the Western Conference semi-final.
Another premature post-season exit triggered a chain of events, which started with the franchise separating with head coach Mike D'Antoni. Reports have suggested that Russell Westbrook's with the Houston Rockets in uncertain right now.
Should the former MVP be made available, the New York Knicks should try their very best to acquire his services.
NBA Trade Rumors - What do the New York Knicks need to give up for Russell Westbrook?
The New York Knicks don't have a single player who can come close to matching Russell Westbrook's ability. Hence, sweeteners in the form of draft picks wll be required to prise him away from the Rockets. Russell Westbrook's value is relatively low, even though he is on a massive contract. Considering this, a first round pick in the trade package could do the trick.
The New York Knicks would also have to let go of their best scorer, Julius Randle. Getting rid of Bobby Portis and his $16 million contract would help in balancing the salaries, while any one or two of Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith Jr., or Kevin Knox will give the Houston Rockets a future prospect to develop.
Published 18 Sep 2020, 05:00 IST