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New York Knicks showing interest in Russell Westbrook trade

Vincent Frank

The New York Knicks are seemingly the frontrunner to land Utah Jazz star guard Donovan Mitchell in a blockbuster trade.

Mitchell became available earlier this month after Utah sent fellow star Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The three-time All-Star has seemingly been linked to the Knicks for the past several months.

If this were to happen, New York’s brass would then look to move off forward Julius Randle in a separate trade. According to NBA insider Marc Stein, that could include bringing back Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook.

“One league source advised me in Las Vegas to keep an eye on the Knicks and Lakers discussing a potential Westbrook deal if — IF — Leon Rose can successfully bring Donovan Mitchell to Madison Square Garden. The source’s thinking: After adding Mitchell, New York would be expected to explore scenarios to trade away Julius Randle.”

Marc Stein report on potential New York Knicks trad for RusselL Westbrook

After what was a down 2021-22 season for Randle and his Knicks, there’s been talk about a potential divorce. Apparently, New York’s brass is willing to move off the 2020-21 NBA Most Improved Player while building around the likes of Jalen Brunson, RJ Barrett and Mitchell should it acquire the latter from Utah.

Related: NBA insider says New York Knicks are ‘gonna wind up with Donovan Mitchell’

Does a Russell Westbrook trade to the New York Knicks make sense?

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at New York Knicks
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Both the Lakers and Knicks are coming off disastrous seasons. For Los Angeles, it’s led to talks about potentially flipping Westbrook for Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving. Right now, there’s very little traction when it comes to those conversations.

An alternative here would be to bring Randle back to the mix after he starred in Los Angeles for the first our years of his career. If the Lakers are unwilling to attach draft picks in any Irving deal, moving to a potential Randle trade could make sense.

These Lakers could flip Westbrook’s expiring contract after he struggled big time with the team in his first season. In return, Los Angeles would acquire Randle and veteran point guard Derrick Rose to make the finances work.

Related: New York Knicks’ Quentin Grimes and Jericho Sims dominate Summer League

In fact, it could even pick up a potential future first-round pick due to the fact that the team would be taking on longer-term deals for an expiring contract.

From the New York Knicks’ perspective, the idea would be to create further financial flexibility by acquiring the one year Westbrook has remaining on his deal. Remember, Randle is signed through the 2025-26 season.

With that said, this report is under the guise that New York pulls off a blockbuster trade for Mitchell. Should that happen, other moves would have to be made in order for front office head Leon Rose to construct a winner — both short term and over the long haul.