The New York Knicks have been linked to just about every veteran star believed to be available on the trade market this offseason. Chris Paul and Victor Oladipo have already made their way through the rumor mill, and now, we can potentially add another name to that list: Russell Westbrook. According to SNY's Ian Begley, NBAagents believe that the Knicks "would poke around" on a possible Westbrook trade should the Houston Rockets make him available.
At this time, there is no indication that the Rockets plan to make Westbrook available. However, it should be noted that the Rockets aggressively denied rumors that they would consider trading Chris Paul in 2019. We all know how that turned out. On paper, there are a number of arguments in favor of a Westbrook trade. The best are financial. The Rockets owe around $118 million to only five players next season: Westbrook, James Harden, Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker and Robert Covington.
While the extent of it is not fully known, owner Tilman Fertitta has had financial struggles during the pandemic. He had to take out a $300 million loan at a hefty 13 percent interest to keep his restaurant empire afloat, and has never paid the luxury tax before. Westbrook has three years left on his contract at max money, culminating in a preposterous $46.6 million salary for the 2022-23 season. He will also turn 32 next month and relies heavily on athleticism. In all likelihood, he will not age particularly well.
The Knicks have enough cap space to absorb the entire Westbrook contract outright. The question is whether or not they would do it. Most outside observers view Westbrook as a negative asset.