Proposed Knicks Trade Lands Coveted $91 Million Swingman for Julius Randle

Donte DiVincenzo, Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks

Getty Donte DiVincenzo #0 and Jalen Brunson #11 of the New York Knicks.

New York Knicks star Julius Randle underwent surgery to address the shoulder injury that ended his 2023-24 season.

But could this season have been the last we see of Randle in Knicks uniform? Randle, 29, still has two more seasons on his four-year, $117 million contract with a $29.5 million player option for the 2025-26 season.

An offseason trade could allow the Knicks to avoid potentially overpaying him on his next deal.

Doing so sooner rather than later could facilitate their landing a coveted trade target: Brooklyn Nets swingman Mikal Bridges.

“The Knicks and Nets … haven’t agreed on a deal since June 22, 1983,” Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz wrote on April 11. “Motivation for New York to bring Bridges into a Villanova-heavy locker room and for Brooklyn to stock up on draft picks lost from the James Harden trade could end this drought, however.”

“The Knicks have thrived using smaller lineups with OG Anunoby as the power forward in place of Randle, as the team has gone 17-3 in games the 26-year-old has been healthy. A starting five of Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo, Bridges, Anunoby and Isaiah Hartenstein/Mitchell Robinson with Josh Hart as a sixth man looks like the NBA’s best defensive group on paper with enough offense to win a title.”

Swartz suggests this hypothetical Knicks trade package to secure the 27-year-old Bridges.

Knicks get:

– Mikal Bridges

Nets get:

– Julius Randle
– 2024 first-round pick (via DAL)
– 2025 first-round pick
– 2025 second-round pick
– 2027 second-round pick

“Brooklyn has rebuked trade offers for Bridges to this point, although a 31-48 record this season should keep all options on the table,” Swartz wrote. “A healthy Randle is still an All-Star as he proved this year, averaging 24.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists.”

Knicks’ Villanova Connection Could Get Stronger

Bridges is miscast as the No. 1 option in Brooklyn. His 19.9 points per game are the second-most of his career. But they are a massive step back from the 26.1 PPG he averaged over the final 27 games last season. His 56.2% true shooting mark is also his second worst.

A trade to the Knicks would allow him to play off of Brunson and keep defending at a high level.

Bridges and Brunson know each other well, winning at least one championship DiVincenzo and Hart in college at Villanova. His durability should appeal to Head Coach Tom Thibodeau too.

Randle had been durable since an ankle injury wiped out his rookie season, making no fewer than 71 appearances in all but one of his eight seasons since then.

He finishes this season with just 46 appearances, the second-lowest mark of his career.

Convincing Nets to Trade Mikal Bridges Could Prove Impossible for Knicks

The Nets have been adamant about holding Bridges in a leading role. They turned down an offer of four first-round picks from the Memphis Grizzlies after acquiring the 2021-22 All-Defensive selection from the Phoenix Suns for Kevin Durant, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks in February 2023.

They also turned down the Houston Rockets’ offer including Jalen Green, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype on January 31. And Bridges still has two years on his four-year, $90.9 million deal.

Prying Bridges loose in a trade still seems unlikely, particularly for the rival Knicks.