How the Houston Rockets’ uncertainty could affect a deal
With the news of Daryl Morey stepping down as GM of the organization, it is unclear at this time where the team’s head is in terms of the market. As of now, there is nothing to indicate the Rockets are interested in trading Russ at all, much less to the Knicks.
It’s also unclear what exactly the Knicks would be willing to hand over in a potential Westbrook trade, as only the interest itself has been reported. Actual offers or ideas have yet to surface.
Julius Randle is a common denominator in all three trade ideas because RJ Barrett, while promising, is not enough by himself for any of these deals to be worth it for the Rockets. The Knicks do have cap space, but it’s doubtable that they would want to part with that much of it for Westbrook. Trading Westbrook would also likely exacerbate the Rockets’ need for a big man.
All of these potential trades are also assuming that the Rockets would not be in a “win-now” mode, as no trade involving Westbrook to the Knicks would bring them into clear championship contention. If any of these trades were to get done, it would be in service of relieving the team of Russ’ contract and or acquiring young talent and assets for future pursuits.
If Houston is going to kick the tires on the Knicks interest, they need to make sure they are asking for assets worthy of what they paid for Russ and of his on-court production in the regular season this year.
Trading a former-MVP in the last years of his prime is no small matter, and the Rockets must receive an appropriate return in any scenario where this happens.