NBA Exec Sets Framework for Fresh New Blockbuster Trade

Gordon Hayward, New York Knicks

Getty Julius Randle of the New York Knicks drives to the basket against Gordon Hayward of the Charlotte Hornets.

The New York Knicks are looking to make up for their lackluster 2021-22 campaign by bolstering their talent pool and shoring up several of their loose ends found within the rotation.

Already this summer, they’ve managed to secure the future of their pivot position by re-signing Mitchell Robinson and snatched up a potential franchise point guard in free agency by inking Jalen Brunson to a four-year, $104 million deal.

However, even with these transactions, Leon Rose and company are seemingly looking to make one more splash before the end of the summer, with a trade for Donovan Mitchell being their main objective.

The franchise seems to feel rather confident in their chances of landing the perennial All-Star guard, with The Athletic’s Fred Katz noting in an August 8 report that the Knicks “know no one is coming close to them” in trade negotiations with the Jazz.

Still, even with this self-assurance, it may be a worthwhile endeavor to have a backup plan in place should things not wind up going New York’s way and, in a recent discussion with Heavy, one Eastern Conference executive stated that the team’s “plan B” could be to pursue Charlotte Hornets forward Gordon Hayward, as he’s viewed as a solid fit should he remain healthy.

“He’d be good with what the Knicks have, with Brunson and R.J. Barrett, a bigger guy who can be a ballhandler. If he can stay healthy. That’s the only reason the Hornets would consider moving him, to get off that contract (two years remaining, $62 million) for a guy who has not been healthy.”

The executive did go on to say that the ideal scenario would be to swap out Julius Randle for Hayward, though they mentioned that it may not be a desired scenario for Charlotte.

Knicks Could Include Evan Fournier in Hayward Deal

As stated, including Randle into an outbound package to Charlotte would likely be the optimal exchange for the Knicks, as they’d be able to rid themselves of the remaining four years of his $117 million contract and swap it for the final two years of Hayward’s deal.

Unfortunately, the executive told Heavy that they doubt the Hornets would be willing to make such a trade, though they did piece together a scenario that could “work out” for both parties.

New York Knicks receive:

  • Gordon Hayward

Charlotte Hornets receive:

  • Evan Fournier
  • Cam Reddish
  • Future first-round pick

In this deal, Fournier would mainly serve as a salary-matching asset, though his steady shooting stroke could fit quite nicely within Charlotte’s 6th-ranked three-point shooting offense.

Reddish could be viewed as an intriguing young prospect for this youth-driven Hornets team who, if able to tap into the high-end skill set that made him a top-10 draft pick back in 2019 on a consistent level, could be a nice long-term complementary piece to have running alongside franchise cornerstone LaMelo Ball.

And, of course, the future pick would simply be to sweeten the pot.

Knicks ‘Re-engaged’ in Talks for Mitchell

After about a month of dormancy, it appears that talks of a Donovan Mitchell deal between New York and Utah have started back up again as, per an August 16 report by The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Tony Jones, the two parties have “re-engaged” in their blockbuster negotiations.

“After several weeks of no conversations, the New York Knicks and Utah Jazz recently re-engaged in trade talks centered on Donovan Mitchell, league sources tell The Athletic.

“The Knicks and Jazz had a fresh trade conversation within the past week about potential packages for Mitchell, according to sources,” Charania and Jones said.

Though Charania and Jones both did state that “hurdles towards a deal remain,” the fact that the two franchises are back in talks is certainly a positive sign.

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