Time is running out if any of the remaining NBA trade rumors are to become reality before training camps begin. A fresh rumor has surfaced that includes three high-profile players and two prominent teams. According to the website NBA Trade Rumors, the New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder are discussing a three-player deal that would send point guard Russell Westbrook to Gotham for fellow point guard Derrick Rose and power forward Kristaps Porzingis.
Clearly, this would be a huge trade and would shake things up in both NBA conferences if it were to take place. In terms of salary match, this deal would be allowed under NBA trade guidelines (per the ESPN NBA Trade Machine). However, there is one detail related to this proposed trade that makes it impossible — at least for now. Russell Westbrook just signed a contract extension with Oklahoma City (three years, $85 million) and due to this, the Thunder cannot trade Westbrook until December 15.
This deal could potentially come to fruition at mid-season if these teams are looking for a spark and decide to make significant roster changes, but it will not occur before then. For the sake of argument, what if the Knicks and Thunder do pursue this swap a few months from now? The results could be quite interesting.
Derrick Rose is a former NBA Most Valuable Player (2010-11), but he has struggled with injuries since his MVP season. Rose was relatively healthy this past year, but averaged only 25 games played during the prior four seasons, including missing the entire 2012-13 campaign. New York executed a trade in June to acquire Rose, hoping that the three-time NBA All-Star can return to his former MVP form. Rose’s value in the trade market will mostly depend on his performance and ability to remain healthy in the early part of the 2016-17 season.
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As good as Derrick Rose is when he is healthy, Russell Westbrook is still in a class above Rose. Westbrook is a true superstar, and may become even more dynamic this season with the departure of former teammate Kevin Durant to Golden State. Westbrook will be expected to carry the load for the Thunder, and he is capable of doing so in spectacular fashion. Even if Derrick Rose performs well for the Knicks, team president Phil Jackson would have to consider adding Russell Westbrook to the roster if given the opportunity.
It seems like a very long time ago that Knicks fans loudly booed the selection of 7-foot-3 Kristaps Porzingis in the 2015 NBA Draft. Porzingis quieted the doubters by registering a stellar rookie season, in which he showed a varied and unusual skill set, as well as legitimate star potential. Under normal circumstances, New York would consider their young power forward “untouchable” as a trade chip, but the possibility of obtaining a star of Russell Westbrook’s caliber is certainly not a normal situation.
This NBA trade rumor is intriguing not only because of the big names involved, but due to the uncertainty attached to Rose and Porzingis. Rose could be an MVP candidate, or a complete bust if he can’t get past his injury woes. Porzingis has shown exceptional potential, but just how good will he be in the coming years? Will he incrementally improve, or will he level off quickly after such an eye-catching start to his NBA career?
In all probability, the Knicks know what they would be getting in Westbrook, but Derrick Rose and Kristaps Porzingis are wildcards. It is difficult to evaluate this deal because there are key unanswered questions about Rose and Porzingis related to their projected productivity in the years to come. If the New York duo meet expectations, this could actually be a bad deal for the Knicks. Conversely, if injuries or lack of improvement hold back the progress of Rose and/or Porzingis, Oklahoma City would rue the day they agreed to trade Russell Westbrook to New York.
One of the hot NBA trade rumors currently circulating has the Knicks and Thunder involved in a major trade that could easily go off the rails for either side. Oklahoma City has invested heavily in Russell Westbrook, and New York has made a strong commitment to Derrick Rose by making a deal with the Bulls to get him earlier this summer. Despite the temptation that a proposal like this could hold, it seems likely that neither side would be bold enough to roll the dice on such a precarious move.
[Featured Image by Jeff Haynes/AP Images]