Proposed Trade Swaps Disgruntled Knicks Star for Former MVP

New York Knicks Julius Randle

Getty New York Knicks big man Julius Randle looks on during a game against the Miami Heat.

The New York Knicks wrapped up their disappointing season by not only missing the playoffs, but the play-in tournament altogether.

Of course, the writing was on the wall for much of the season as Kemba Walker was removed from the rotation entirely and Julius Randle was never able to recapture his success from the previous year.

Over the course of the year, Randle had a few run ins with fans, and even gave the Madison Square Garden crowd a “thumbs down” gesture, something that hasn’t sat well with the fan base.

With a new contract extension kicking in for the next season, Randle’s salary is about to rise significantly, and if the Knicks want to move on from him this might be the time to do so.

Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus floats the “realistic” option of the Los Angeles Lakers dumping Russell Westbrook and his massive contract to the Knicks in exchange for Randle.

Westbrook for Randle

Lakers star Russell Westbrook

GettyLakers point guard Russell Westbrook

Knicks fans have heard this potential trade before, but now that the year is over, the time is ripe for the rumors to start swirling again.

With the Lakers presumably looking to move on from Westbrook, there aren’t likely to be many people knocking on LA’s door to acquire him. Instead, he’ll likely have to a team willing to take a gamble or just immediately buy him out.

The Knicks could firmly be in the gamble part of that as they could also be looking for a way out from under Randle’s contract and some others.

“Given [Randle’s] contract and positional duplication with James and Davis, that seems like a stretch,” wrote Pincus. “Still, New York might be open to giving up Evan Fournier, Alec Burks, Kemba Walker, Nerlens Noel and Cam Reddish.”

Walker is expected to be moved this offseason, so perhaps the Lakers will be willing to roll the dice on both him and Randle. Pincus notes the problem for the Lakers will be convincing the Knicks to part with their expiring deals.

“The challenge for the Lakers would be to incentivize the Knicks to clear salary when most of those players have one year left on their deals (only Fournier’s extends beyond the 2022-23 season),” he wrote. “The latest buzz around the league suggests the Knicks aren’t interested in Westbrook, but it’s April. That could change by June or July.”

Acquiring a name like Westbrook could get the fan base pretty excited, but it would definitely come at a price.

Is It Worth It?

Julius Randle, New York Knicks

GettyJulius Randle could be on the way out.

Russell Westbrook didn’t have a good year with the Lakers, and that’s not in question, but he did just lead the Washington Wizards to the playoffs last year.

It’s possible he might not be the same player as he was before, but that could be a risk worth taking for just a year.

Westbrook will be coming with a massive $47 million contract next year, but then the Knicks would be able to get out of it with no problem if they don’t want to bring him back.

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