Over the past few weeks, I’ve written or said or thought some variation of the following line countless times: the Knicks’ B-level offer is better than most of the other suitors’ A-level offers. But how true is that? Which of the Non-Knicks Six can come close to the package New York could cobble together? The Jazz want five or six or seven first-round picks, as well as young players. The Knicks own all of their firsts as well as four from other teams: the Wizards’ in 2023, the Detroit Pistons’ in ‘23, the Dallas Mavericks’ in ‘23 and the Milwaukee Bucks’ in ‘25. All of those are protected. They can deal up to eight first-rounders, including up to four unprotected ones. They could add at least three first-round swaps. They have attractive up-and-comers, including RJ Barrett (who we should assume would not be part of a hypothetical deal), Quentin Grimes, Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin.
September 25, 2022 | 7:41 pm EDT Update
Russell Westbrook was wearing a bucket hat, flip-flops and a smile inside the conference room in his Avenue of the Stars offices. Trade talks stalled, training camp on the cusp and Westbrook hardly had to consider the question: Do you feel wanted by the Los Angeles Lakers? “I don’t need to,” Westbrook told ESPN recently. “I need to just do my job. Whether I’m wanted or not doesn’t really matter. I think the most important thing is that I show up for work and I do the job like I’ve always done it: Be professional and go out and play my ass off and compete.”
Westbrook spoke of getting back to work in the gym sooner in the past offseason than he has ever done in his career, about a summer full of conversations with Lakers coach Darvin Ham, about a “connection” and “trust” with Ham’s vision to utilize him in a way that impacts winning on these Lakers. Maybe that’s as a starter or maybe it’s off the bench. “I’m all-in on whatever it takes for this team to win,” Westbrook said. “I’m prepared for whatever comes my way.”
He sure isn’t here to tell you that his and the Lakers’ debacle of a season caused him to have to fight to keep his confidence. “No, I didn’t have to fight that,” Westbrook said. “I had to fight my response on how it affects the people close to me. To me, that was the important part. Confidence is not something I lack. Yes, there were times last season that I wanted to play better — that I should’ve played better — but my confidence never wavers. Having bad games is part of the NBA, and I understand that. The only thing it affected for me was the impact that it had on the people closest to me — my mom, dad, wife, brother, close friends. We’ve never had to deal with that as a family. That was the most difficult thing — being booed in the arena and having my kids there.”
Shams Charania: Sources: The Lakers plan to sign G/F Matt Ryan on a non-guaranteed deal. Four-year NBA veteran Dwayne Bacon is also working toward training camp deal with the Lakers. Ryan was with the Celtics on a two-way last season.