There’s reportedly a good reason the New York Knicks seem to be at the center of trade rumors this offseason when it comes to players like Gordon Hayward and Russell Westbrook.
As one report noted, it’s all part of new head coach Tom Thibodeau’s plan to adopt a “win now” mentality and shoot the team into title contention. As NBC Sports reported, the Knicks have been pegged as a potential trade partner for the Houston Rockets in their plans to move Westbrook and are also said to be interested in snagging Hayward from the rival Boston Celtics. While it’s not clear just how deep New York may be in discussions to go after either player, the report noted that it seems clear Thibodeau wants to build a contender.
Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reported that the new Knicks coach is looking to exert a high level of control over personnel moves, something he had done in Minnesota by swinging a big trade that landed Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls.
As The Inquisitr reported, the Knicks are believed to be among the small group of teams interested in trading for Westbrook — and one of the few that would be able to take on the more than $130 million remaining on the former NBA MVP’s salary. There could still be some tight competition even with a smaller circle of interested teams, as the Los Angeles Lakers are also seen as a potential landing spot.
The Knicks have also been connected to Hayward, who could reportedly be on the outs in Boston due to the team’s plans to go after New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday. As Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer noted, Boston has been trying to move up into the upcoming draft lottery but would reroute that pick to go after Holiday. That would mean adding salaries to the deal, potentially putting Hayward in the mix.
The Knicks finished near the bottom of the Eastern Conference last season at 21-45, but they are reportedly looking to make a fast turnaround and move into contention in the more wide-open conference. NBC Sports noted that it will likely take a few more weeks to better determine just how aggressive the Knicks will be in building a contending team, as they may end up going slower this offseason in order to keep the cap space needed to pursue Giannis Antetokounmpo or another big-name free agent in the next offseason.