Proposed Trade Sends Randle, Fournier to Title Contender ‘Before Season Starts’

Julius Randle, New York Knicks

Getty Julius Randle reacts with Evan Fournier of the New York Knicks during second overtime against the Boston Celtics.

The 2021-22 campaign was certainly one to forget for the New York Knicks, and 2022-23 could prove to be the bounce-back year this franchise could certainly use.

After an offseason filled with heavy free agency activity and non-stop buzz of blockbuster negotiations, this fan base is still rather eager to see the team take part in one more splashy transaction before the start of training camp.

Though they may not have been able to strike a deal to land coveted guard Donovan Mitchell, as he was ultimately traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers on September 1, many are under the assumption that the Knicks are eager to shake up their roster, and David Vertsberger of SNY believes that trading Julius Randle could be a way for them to do exactly that.

In an article published on September 8, Vertsberger concocted a deal involving both the power forward and another high-priced player being shipped out to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The framework of the proposed deal reads as follows:

New York Knicks receive:

  • Russell Westbrook
  • Two future first-round picks

Los Angeles Lakers receive:

  • Julius Randle
  • Evan Fournier

This deal would be primarily focused on the Knicks clearing up future cap space and attaining extra draft capital along the way.

Westbrook to Knicks is an Old Concept

Russell Westbrook has been a major centerpiece in trade rumors between the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks all offseason and the swap of him and Julius Randle has been a concept often seen in hypothetical blockbuster proposals.

One could argue that the idea actually would make a lot of sense for both ball clubs.

For Los Angeles, they would finally rid themselves of the former MVP, who has been a player consistently found floating within the trade-rumor mill after having arguably the least efficient season of his career in 2021-22.

In the process of swapping out his egregious salary of $47.1 million, the title-hopeful Lakers bring back two quality talents in return to help fill out their rotation.

With Randle, the franchise adds on another play-maker and scoring threat to the roster (has averaged 22.1 points and 5.6 assists over the last two years) while helping to improve their 22nd-ranked floor-spacing game with the sharpshooting Fournier (boasts a career 38.1% three-point shooting clip).

As for the Knicks, they rid themselves of a total commitment of $162 million through 2026 by offloading both Randle and Fournier’s contracts.

Though they’d be bringing on Westbrook’s lofty payday in the exchange, he is only under contract through the end of this year, allowing New York to either waive him soon after his arrival or, simply, allow him to play out the season until his contract expires.

The real plus to this proposed trade idea by Vertsberger is that the front office would be acquiring two picks, both of which could then be packaged together in an effort to try and make another blockbuster trade at some point down the line.

Knicks Could Target OKC Star

Many pundits out there are under the impression that the New York Knicks are on the lookout for a “Plan B” trade target after failing to acquire Donovan Mitchell this summer, and Bill Simmons speculated on a September 1 episode of “The Bill Simmons Podcast” that OKC Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander could be their next option to consider.

“Are we sure you can’t get SGA from OKC,” Simmons asked. “Are we sure like the 80% of the haul for Mitchell — SGA would cost somewhere probably a little more than Dejounte Murray and less than Mitchell, somewhere in there.

“If I’m the Knicks, is that a better outcome if I can keep RJ Barrett and add SGA and I can throw some unprotected picks in there and [Quentin] Grimes and whoever and if I’m OKC, how many years in a row can you tell SGA like, ‘Hey man, it’s not gonna be this year.’”

Simmons would later state that Gilgeous-Alexander has been “available before,” according to his sources.

Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Gilgeous-Alexander linked to the Knickerbockers as being a possible trade target, as Marc Berman of the New York Post stated in a September 1 article that the 24-year-old has been “previously mentioned.”

The combo guard is someone who could find himself on the trade block at some point during this coming season, be it by means of a trade request or, simply, by Oklahoma City’s desire to swap him out in an effort to continue to tank.

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