KEY POINTS

  • The New York Knicks faded when the Russell Westbrook trade talks heated up
  • The Knicks wanted assets alongside the acquisition of Westbrook
  • The Westbrook-Beal combo will be closely monitored this NBA season

Russell Westbrook is looking forward to playing for his third team in his NBA career with the Washington Wizards.

He could have been landed on any franchise, but critics feel the market was low to none. One squad that made sense was the New York Knicks.

The Knicks are rebuilding and need all the help they can get. They needed to fill up the leadership role, someone who could take charge for New York starting this season.

Westbrook fit that very well. However, New York wanted assets involved to go along with the 2017 NBA MVP.

According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, there was no interest to acquire the services Westbrook in the offseason. In an episode of the Lowe Podcast, he pointed out how teams like the Los Angeles Clippers and the Charlotte Hornets were not sincerely keen on luring the Long Beach, California native.

Lowe was wondering where the rumors were coming from, but based on his knowledge, there was none.

For the Knicks, there was a different purpose. New York was willing to take in bad contracts but also wanted additional assets in the form of younger players or future picks.

First-year head coach Tom Thibodeau was likely thinking ahead, knowing he had to come up with a progressive program in rebuilding the Knicks.

Hence, New York would have been just a temporary stop unless the All-Star guard proved otherwise. His hefty salary was a concern, and the Knicks did not want their option to dwindle had they taken him in.

This may explain why the Gotham-based squad kept mum in the latter stages of the offseason.

The Washington Wizards ended up as Westbrook’s next stop. But the reason behind that was simple–it involved a swap of two players who carried massive deals.

Also, Houston may have gotten a bit of a bonus in the trade as well by getting a future pick.

Looking ahead, it will be interesting how Westbrook can blend with Bradley Beal. The 27-year-old is seen as the new face of the franchise, and this was allegedly one of the reasons why Wall sought a trade.

Westbrook has been known to be a ball-dominant player. Though he has proven he can carry a team on his shoulder, he will have to share that honor with Beal for now.

If both find a way to co-exist, there is a reason to believe the Wizards could be a team to watch this 2020-21 season.

Russell Westbrook Houston Rockets Russell Westbrook #0 of the Houston Rockets during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Five of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on September 12, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images