The New York Knicks are in a downward spiral this season after getting off to a fast start. What appeared to be another season that ended in a playoff appearance now has a much cloudier future.
With the latest loss to the Miami Heat, the Knicks now find themselves on the outside of the NBA play-in tournament that cuts off at the 10th seed. There are a variety of reasons New York finds themselves in this situation, but a lot of boils down to the abysmal performance by the starters.
This eventually led to Kemba Walker being banished from the rotation entirely before an injury to Derrick Rose brought him back. What looked like major upgrades in the offseason ended up not panning out for the team so far.
There are a variety of trades that could be explored, but former Brooklyn Nets general manager suggested the Knicks go after Russell Westbrook of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Speaking on Zach Lowe’s podcast, Marks believes the team is in need of a shakeup, and Westbrook could be exactly what they need.
Westbrook to the Knicks
It’s no secret the Lakers are going through their share of struggles this season, and they can’t seem to escape the .500 mark no matter what they do.
Westbrook was brought over in the offseason to form a Big 3 with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but the three of them haven’t exactly spent a lot of time on the floor together due to injuries. With time running out on the season, the Lakers might not have the luxury of waiting it out, and a big trade may be needed.
This is where the Knicks come in.
“I am interested in New York,” Marks said. “In the trade guide, I was really conservative. … But man, watching them against Miami, watching them in recent games here, are you content just kind of riding out this group here? But you have so many young players, outside of the Quickley-Toppin-Robinson-Barrett-Grimes group, what does Evan Fournier do for you? What does Kemba Walker do? Alec Burks? Guys like that. I don’t know if there’s enough here unless New York is trying to add draft picks that can you bring back something”
It’s also no secret the Knicks starting lineup doesn’t bring a lot to the table and they boast one of the worst plus/minuses in the league as a unit. It’s looking like they are going nowhere fast with that squad, so shipping them out could be an option.
I’d call the Lakers. I’d call the Lakers for Russell Westbrook,” Marks continued. “I am offering Kemba Walker, Burks and Fournier for Russell Westbrook and a 2027 lottery-protected first from the Lakers.”
From the outside looking in, this trade would make a lot of sense because it seems to work out for both sides. Westbrook is a player that plays hard, something the Knicks desperately need at the moment. For the Lakers, they would get a bunch of fresh bodies ready to compete for a championship. Walker could likely slide right in as a third option and he might be able to thrive.
Would This Move the Needle?
For the Knicks and Lakers, it’s hard to imagine this trade making things worse for either team. The Knicks are sitting in the lottery at the moment, so they have nothing to lose.
The Lakers are right in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race, and dumping Westbrook for three new playmakers could prove to be invaluable. One major hangup is Westbrook’s massive salary of $47 million, but Marks believes the Knicks can afford it.
“What I am looking for from the Knicks, does Russell Westbrook make $47 million next year? Yes,” he said. “It’s different from the situation in Los Angeles where you got six guys and you’re signing minimums. You got all these young kids already there, five or six under contract. You got Randle there. You’re not a tax team. All the flaws of Russell Westbrook, that guy, he competes. He is a competitor, he is a wild card. I am watching a Knicks team that is so lethargic now.”
For a team that needs a spark in the starting lineup, you can do a whole lot worse than Westbrook. Keep in mind that he was even able to carry the Wizards into the playoffs last season, so maybe he’d be able to save the floundering Knicks as well.