NY Knicks: Pros, Cons of trading for Russell Westbrook

Sep 12, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook (0) looks on in the second half of game five of the second round against the Los Angeles Lakers of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 12, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook (0) looks on in the second half of game five of the second round against the Los Angeles Lakers of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Knicks
NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 11: Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul attend Black Ops Basketball Session at Life Time Athletic At Sky on September 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images) /

Con of Trading for Westbrook: He’s not Chris Paul

Russell Westbrook is not Chris Paul. Ok, we have established the obvious. But this is an important point to make. For the Knicks to consider trading for a veteran star past their prime, they need to make sure the player they are getting back checks off a lot of intangible boxes beyond what they can offer on the floor.

Chris Paul is a better basketball player than Westbrook. He would have a positive influence on the court. A strong argument can be made that he would propel the Knicks toward a low playoff seed. The ceiling with Westbrook isn’t nearly as high. And if he is not helping on the court, what value does he really add?

Westbrook might put the Knicks on a few extra national TV games, but for a franchise that is already in the spotlight, they need credibility more than viewership.

Paul is one of the most respected players in the league. He has close relationships with many of the game’s biggest stars. If he comes to New York and proves he can succeed, perhaps even with a smile on his face while playing under the evil James Dolan, that should send a message to star players who might consider joining the Knicks in the future.

Westbrook doesn’t carry that same stature. He is a talented player. He would be the best point guard to put on a Knicks jersey since Clyde? But he isn’t the type of star that can turn a franchise around, either on or off the court.

If Leon Rose wants to acquire an aging star player, there are better options than Russell Westbrook.