Thursday, December 2News That Matters

Russell Westbrook Makes Triple-Doubles Look Easy. They’re Not.

It’s true that this front office will ultimately be judged on its ability to sign or trade for at least one certifiable star to pair with Randle, which means persuading an established player to embrace the challenge of playing in New York as heartily as Randle did. Rose and his management team also have to brace for ongoing second-guessing about their first draft pick if the rookie guard Tyrese Haliburton continues to blossom in Sacramento, since they could have drafted Haliburton at No. 8 rather than Obi Toppin.

The Rose regime, though, has done many good things in its first year. The Knicks appear to have hired the right coach in Tom Thibodeau, helped usher Randle to All-Star status and can point to promising development from RJ Barrett and the rookie Immanuel Quickley to offset the injuries that have derailed Mitchell Robinson’s third season.

There have been whispers for weeks that the Knicks’ flirtation with the East’s No. 4 seed has helped restore their reputation to the point that star players are finally prepared to consider them a destination franchise again. If that proves true, they will have multiple pathways to address the concerns you raised, whether it’s by trying to sign a savvy former All-Star like Kyle Lowry or DeMar DeRozan on a short-term deal as a bridge to free-agent classes more star-laden than this summer’s, or by using future draft picks (perhaps packaged with Toppin) to construct a meaningful trade.

Things could always go askew if the Knicks rush into the wrong deal, as they have been known to do over the years, or if the team’s owner, James L. Dolan, decides he needs to get involved after abiding by the organization’s plan to let Thibodeau and on-court results do all the talking. But I would say that the Knicks have certainly earned a grace period through the end of this surprising season. This is a time for Knicks fans, surely, to revel in what’s going right.

Q: Do they really get the Oscar itself? Kobe Bryant was very involved in co-creating his film, which is why he was given an Oscar. Executive producers frequently provide financing and aren’t involved as hands-on producers. In any case, good for them. — @FromMeadows from Twitter

Stein: In my exuberance Sunday night, I tweeted that Kevin Durant, Mike Conley Jr. and Rich Kleiman, Durant’s business manager, joined Bryant as Oscar winners from the N.B.A. because they were listed as executive producers for “Two Distant Strangers,” which won the best live action short film category at Sunday’s Academy Awards. That’s incorrect.

They were part of an Oscar-winning film, but did not get awards themselves. Kobe took home an Oscar trophy in 2018 for the animated short film “Dear Basketball,” which was based on a poem Bryant wrote in 2015 to announce his retirement at the end of the 2015-16 season.