Proposed Blockbuster Sees Knicks Trade 2 Starters for $206 Million Star

Julius Randle and RJ Barrett of the New York Knicks.

Getty Julius Randle and RJ Barrett of the New York Knicks.

The New York Knicks are in a bit of an awkward position this summer, and the same can be said for the Los Angeles Lakers. Both teams will be looking to make it back to the NBA Playoffs next year after missing out this past season due to a series of disappointments.

New York’s primary goal seems to be acquiring Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz in a deal. Meanwhile, the Lakers are probably looking to move Russell Westbrook. The connection between the two is that long-time NBA insider Marc Stein reported that the Knicks could be interested in trading for Westbrook if they end up landing Mitchell.

That’s where this proposal comes in.

On August 4, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report wrote a trade proposal that would see the Knicks land Westbrook and a first-round pick in exchange for two of their core players.

Here’s the full outline of the proposed deal:

Knicks receive: Westbrook, 2027 1st-Round Pick (Top-5 Protected)

Lakers receive: Julius Randle, Evan Fournier

This trade would give the Knicks some future flexibility next summer, while the Lakers would get some solid depth around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Swartz went into more detail about this in his piece.

Knicks Get Future Flexibility

Adding Westbrook to the mix would create a log jam in the backcourt, but they wouldn’t be trading for him in order to utilize him. The deal would be made in an attempt to free up future money so New York can build around Jalen Brunson, RJ Barrett, and Mitchell.

“Moving Randle and Fournier for Westbrook would create $44.6 million in cap relief in 2023. If a trade indeed goes down for Mitchell, he would get a chance to recruit another star to New York to join a core with Barrett, Jalen Brunson, Mitchell Robinson and others.

This could also turn into a three-team deal, with the future first from the Lakers used to help the Knicks acquire Mitchell,” Swartz wrote.

Westbrook could still potentially help a team win, but the Knicks wouldn’t be a great fit for him. There would already be too much talent in the backcourt, and Westbrook would be forced to take on a bench role, which he hasn’t been very open to in the past.

Meanwhile, this deal would give the Lakers some solid depth.

Lakers Get 2 ‘Quality Starters’

While Randle and Fournier struggled a bit last season, they would still be good enough to start on the Lakers. In fact, with less pressure on them to produce, they could have nice bounce-back seasons in Los Angeles.

“Randle and Fournier are overpaid, but can still be quality starters in the NBA.

“Randle is just a year removed from winning Most Improved Player while averaging 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, 6.0 assists and shooting 41.1 percent from three, while Fournier (14.1 points on 38.9 percent from three last season) should thrive as a floor-spacer off passes from LeBron James,” explained Swartz.

This deal could end up being very beneficial for both sides, as the Knicks would get some financial flexibility and the Lakers would put a better lineup around their two stars.

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