The New York Knicks saw their offseason plans dashed on September 1, as NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski announced that long-desired trade target Donovan Mitchell had been dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
With this, all the preparations that the front office made in an effort to pursue the guard this offseason have been for naught, and, now, Leon Rose and company are left with an influx of assets assembled with the intent of pursuing an established star and have no known alternative course of action at this time.
However, perhaps New York could opt to turn back the clock and focus on a reported early-summer idea that centered on the concept of trading off star forward Julius Randle.
Now, considering the lackluster 2021-22 campaign that saw the big man take a step back in numerous statistical areas coupled with his lofty payday of $117 million contract that guarantees him $106 million kicking in this season, not many teams have shown much interest in pursuing a Randle deal.
That said, perhaps the Knicks could be open to the concept of sweetening the pot of a potential package by including one of their copious amounts of draft picks into the mix.
Though this is something they’ve been reported as being unwilling to do in the past, considering they no longer will be using any of them to land Mitchell, New York could now decide that utilizing one of these assets in an attempt to offload the remaining four years of Julius Randle’s deal could be a worth-while move to make.
Knicks Could Have Trade Suitors
Should the New York Knicks find themselves actively shopping Randle, there could be several ball clubs coming to inquire about the 2020 All-NBA selection.
One team, in particular, could be the championship-chasing Phoenix Suns who, according to an August 23 tweet by 98.7 FM Phoenix radio host John Gambadoro, are currently in the market for an upgrade at power forward.
Now, as mentioned in a previous piece on the report, Julius Randle is not exactly the type of player that fits the bill of being a “post-up” power forward, as he’s more inclined to hit the mid-range game rather than pursuing back-downs.
In fact, just last season, the 27-year-old went on to hoist 350 shot attempts from the mid-range and only 316 down near the basket.
Having said all this, he has shown flashes at times of being a solid back-to-the-basket presence when desired and, with his intimidating six-foot-eight, 249-pound frame, he certainly has the size and strength necessary to be a dominant force in this area of the floor.
Outside of Phoenix, the Los Angeles Lakers have also been a team linked to Randle in the past, with Bleacher Report’s Erin Walsh reporting back on July 30 that the franchise has had some interest in reacquiring their former lottery selection.
Hornets an Interesting Trade Partner
Looking at the Eastern Conference, the Charlotte Hornets are an interesting team to consider pursuing a Julius Randle trade with, as they are an up-and-coming young team with an unwanted contract themselves in Gordon Hayward and a newly established vacancy at the power forward position after having parted ways with Miles Bridges.
Even during the Donovan Mitchell sweepstakes, one NBA executive told Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney that the two parties could be a trade match due to the Hornet’s presumed desire to offload Hayward, going as far as to label the oft-injured forward as a possible “Plan B” option should the Knicks not wind up landing the Jazz guard which, as we now know, they didn’t.
“I think a lot of teams have considered Gordon Hayward a Plan B if they can’t get Mitchell or Durant. The Hornets have taken calls on him but they’re still figuring out what to do about him, about the Miles Bridges stuff, what direction they’re taking,” the executive said.
“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.”
Depending on Charlotte’s level of desperation to trade Hayward, New York may be able to strike a deal where they only give up Randle, and could potentially even nab some draft capital in the process.