The New York Knicks are in desperate need of a quality point guard in order to become contenders in the Eastern Conference, and a new report suggests they could land one of the best in the NBA during the 2017 offseason.
The Knicks have a real chance to sell Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook in 2017—New York and (forward Kristaps) Porzingis have his attention, yes—and (team president Phil) Jackson ought to start constructing an elite coaching staff to begin that process with Westbrook and with free agents beyond him.
The Knicks have a pair of elite talents in Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony, but the past 10 games have been a struggle, which led to the firing of head coach Derek Fisher Monday, per ESPN.com.
Kurt Rambis took over on an interim basis, but Jackson figures to find a more permanent solution during the offseason.
Golden State Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton could be among the top candidates after leading the Dubs to a 39-4 start this season during the absence of Steve Kerr.
Landing a highly regarded coach like Walton could go a long way toward attracting Westbrook, as well as other top-shelf free agents, but that hiring is far from guaranteed.
As pointed out by Bleacher Report's Howard Beck, Walton may have some more appealing offers on the table depending upon which jobs are available:
And a note on Luke Walton: Like Kerr two years ago, he'll have other, likely better options. Knicks might not be good enough to get him.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) February 8, 2016
The 27-year-old Westbrook is a special player with five All-Star nods to his credit and per-game averages of 24.1 points, 10 assists and 7.6 rebounds this season.
He has been an OKC staple, but if Kevin Durant decides to sign elsewhere this coming offseason, it wouldn't be particularly surprising to see Westbrook follow suit since the Thunder missed the playoffs last season with Durant out of action.
Westbrook will essentially have his pick of the litter, but a "big three" consisting of himself, Porzingis and Anthony would be special. Establishing a winning organization in New York would go a long way toward ensuring that Westbrook is regarded as one of the truly elite players in the game.
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