Reports have now surfaced that the New York Knicks will not keep Russell Westbrook at the top of their priorities list.
In terms of living up to expectations, the New York Knicks had perhaps one of the worst offseasons in 2019. Not only did they not secure the 1st pick, they did not deliver on their promise of signing Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant.
In a quest to acquire a superstar player, the Knicks were looking into acquiring Russell Westbrook this offseason. Reports have also been surging, linking unrestricted free agent Gordon Hayward and the Knicks.
New York has reportedly been “aggressively pursuing” Hayward. However, now, Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix is reporting a change of heart on the Knicks’ side of the Russell Westbrook acquisition.
The Knicks do not see Russell Westbrook as a priority.
The Knicks pulled off solid moves in the past 20 hours. They declined Bobby Portis’s player option, and waived both Taj Gibson and Elfrid Payton. This saved the Knicks upwards of $25 million.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 19, 2020
These moves however, could be seen as clearing up cap space for signing a player with a monster contract. Westbrook is set to earn $41 million this upcoming season.
With all the rumors surrounding the Knicks wanting Russell Westbrook, Chris Mannix reports the complete opposite. On his podcast, he said, “I’ve been told by people within the Knicks, that Russell Westbrook is not a priority for them at this point.’
Should the New York Knicks pursue Russell Westbrook?
With the Knicks drafting Obi Toppin in this year’s draft, they have built out a solid young core. It is far from complete but it a great foundational core nonetheless.
Westbrook is past his athletic prime and his sole purpose on the Knicks would be to fill up seats in Madison Square Garden. With fans most probably not being allowed in the stands, acquiring the 2017 MVP wouldn’t make sense.
It would be in the Knicks best interest to develop Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, etc.