The Donovan Mitchell deal probably won’t get done anytime soon, as Leon Rose appears to be locked in a stalemate with Jazz president Danny Ainge. But one question should be asked: If the Knicks do sign Mitchell, will it be their final move of the offseason? Perhaps not, according to NBA insider Marc Stein. Leon Rose could have one more big move up their sleeve once they nab Spida: a trade involving and Russell Westbrook. Given Westbrook’s salary next season ($47 million), such a deal would almost certainly involve Julius Randle.
“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.”— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) July 18, 2022
(Via https://t.co/4zRK4kJGWU) pic.twitter.com/VS7jGYjwA1
Many Knicks fans would love to be rid of Randle — though I feel like a growing contingent of fans might believe that the new backcourt of Mitchell and Jalen Brunson can unlock something in the former all-NBA forward. Personally, I disagree. Randle looked like he was ready to start fighting his own teammates by the end of last season. He wasn’t just a bad basketball player; he was a cancer. Get him off my team, post-haste.
But what the hell would the Knicks do with Westbrook, even if only for one season? Stein believes that the former MVP would be nothing more than a salary dump.
When you click the link it is all there: The scenario below is NOT because anyone thinks the Knicks want to add Russ to their backcourt ... it stems from the idea they may want to shed salary elsewhere on the roster (depending on what else is included) IF they can add Mitchell. https://t.co/3STiNLQGe1— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 18, 2022
There even exist a few scenarios where Westbrook would be flipped to the tanking Jazz in a three-way deal with the Knicks and Lakers, with Utah receiving more draft compensation from LA. Again, that would be fine by me.
There are probably too many wheels in motion for a three-way deal to work. Stein also mentions that the Lakers are planning to hold out for a Westbrook-for-Kyrie Irving deal with the Nets. But a guy can dream, can’t he? At the very least, the Knicks pursuing this kind of deal would indicate that they don’t view Randle as part of the solution.