There are a lot of different ways the New York Knicks can go this summer in improving their roster, and you’ll get a different answer depending on who you ask.
For some fans, building around a core where Julius Randle is your go-to player is the best option, and that can certainly be argued because he was an All-NBA selection just a season ago.
Other fans believe that Randle needs to be shipped out of town after putting out a disappointing season where the Knicks missed not only the playoffs, but also a shot at the play-in tournament.
Randle has a big contract extension kicking in next year, so it will be harder to move him now, but that doesn’t mean teams won’t be willing to take a risk on him.
ESPN analysts Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams and Max Kellerman float the idea of a three-way trade that would dump Randle and Evan Fournier and land them Russell Westbrook and two first round picks. Let’s break it down.
Hypothetical 3-Way Deal
On paper it looks like a trade that’s well within the realm of possibilities. The deal would free the Los Angeles Lakers of Russell Westbrook and replace him with Bulls All-Star Zach LaVine. The Knicks would get some much-needed draft picks and they could roll the dice on a Westbrook-led offense.
Here’s how the deal would play out:
- Lakers Get: Zach LaVine
- Knicks Get: Russell Westbrook, 2027 1st-Round Pick, 2028 1st-Round Pick
- Bulls Get: Julius Randle, Evan Fournier
Giving up both Fournier and Randle would free up a ton of money for the Knicks, which would then be filled up almost immediately by Westbrook. Fortunately for the Knicks, Westbrook’s contract would only run for one additional year and then they have free reign in how they want to spend that money.
The Knicks have had lots of cap space in the past, most recently when they thought they’d be getting both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Both of those players eventually went to the Nets, and the Knicks had to move on to a different option.
One strange thing about the trade is the Bulls getting rid of Zach LaVine. He is one of the team’s best players, so getting rid of him in exchange for Julius Randle certainly seems like a head-scratching move from the Bulls in this completely hypothetical scenario.
What Should the Knicks Do?
It’s tough to tell what the best course of action for the Knicks would be here. The hope is that Randle recaptures his All-NBA and All-Star form and that’ll be enough to bring the Knicks back to the playoffs.
RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin are all continuing their development, and if the three of them all take a leap forward and Randle finds his old form, the team will be in business.
If the Knicks don’t think that’s going to happen, then the next best thing would be to dump some of that young talent for a name like Donovan Mitchell if he becomes available.