All summer long, it seemed as though the New York Knicks were destined to take part in a blockbuster deal that would revamp their rotation heading into the 2022-23 campaign and alter the trajectory of their future for the better.
Sadly, such a move has yet to happen as their main target Donovan Mitchell wound up being dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers on September 1, but, despite his removal from the trade market, there are still several other routes the franchise could opt to embark on to accomplish their presumed desire for a splashy transaction.
One popular option for the Knicks to consider is to pursue a trade that would ship Julius Randle and the remaining four years, $117 million left on his contract out of New York and, per reports by Fred Katz of The Athletic from earlier this offseason, it’s a concept the ball club has been pondering.
Of course, trading the big man won’t be an easy feat to accomplish after having such a lackluster 2021-22 performance where he finished as the least-efficient number one scoring option in the league but, nevertheless, the folks at “Knicks Film School” seem to believe that there’s one specific Eastern Conference team that could be interested in acquiring him.
On a September 7 episode of the podcast, hosts Jonathan Macri and Andrew Claudio discussed with Richie Randal of the Buzz Beat Podcast the idea of Randle being traded to the Charlotte Hornets considering their rather quiet offseason and their current need for a power forward after opting not to re-sign Miles Bridges.
And while there was pushback on both sides when taking into account his high-end payday and his undesirable attitude, Claudio presented a trade idea that was unanimously agreed upon as having the potential of being mutually beneficial.
The framework of the deal reads as follows:
New York Knicks receive:
- Gordon Hayward
- Terry Rozier
Charlotte Hornets receive:
- Julius Randle
- Evan Fournier
- Derrick Rose
Of course, if this deal were to actually be put on the table between the New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets, in all likelihood draft capital would also be included in the mix, as Claudio would later insinuate.
Knicks, Hornets Could Benefit
Though initially proposed as a “nuts” concept, the hosts would continue by breaking down exactly why such a transaction could wind up being mutually beneficial for the Knicks and Hornets.
For his stance on why Charlotte should consider it, Claudio focused mainly on the financial aspects of the deal.
“So, you talked about the Knicks’ depth at guard, Richie. Well, you also said that the Hornets need a backup point guard, and we happen to have a guy that finished third in Sixth Man of the Year that Tom Thibodeau obviously swears by in Derrick Rose,” Claudio said.
“There’s your whole offseason. You went from not doing much to now [having] depth to show LaMelo [Ball] ‘hey, we’re committed to this for the next couple of years.’ And then, it’s not even that much long-term money because Rozier and Randle [are] an exact four years for four years.
“Derrick rose is an expiring contract because it’s a team option. And Fournier becomes an expiring contract next summer.”
As for why this could work out for the Knicks, aside from the long-term financial flexibility it would give them, Macri also emphasized how this trade would help give some of the team’s youngsters more of an opportunity within the rotation, particularly third-year guard Immanuel Quickley.
“So the reason that there’s a large contingent of the fanbase, and I just want to say I don’t think that they’re nuts at all, who want Derrick Rose on a different team or just don’t want Derrick Rose on this team, is because they want Immanuel Quickley to get those backup point guard reps,” Macri said.
“Because again, after the Mitchell trade didn’t go down it’s like the conversation we were having a few minutes ago with like ‘what the hell are we doing here?’ Well, at the very least, let’s make sure that we give all of the young players on this team a chance to show whatever their ceilings might be this season.
“Like, treat this season as a gap year, and I think giving Immanuel Quickley a lot of reps as the backup point guard… so that’s what I think will be part of the incentive.”
Outside of Quickley, guys like Obi Toppin, Quentin Grimes, and Cam Reddish would almost certainly find an increased role within the rotation without Randle and Fournier in the mix.
Grimes showed a ton of potential during his rookie campaign in 2021-22 and was even viewed as somewhat of an “untouchable” in New York’s trade talks with the Utah Jazz regarding Donovan Mitchell while Toppin has only proven capable of excelling when given a bigger role within Thibodeau’s system.
Randle Still a Quality Talent
Though he may not be the beloved commodity in New York that he was after his miraculous 2021-22 All-NBA campaign, the fact still remains that, at least from an individual standpoint, Julius Randle is still a quality player in this league.
Despite his shooting inefficiencies and the fact that it was deemed as an overall “down year,” the 27-year-old still found himself putting up rather impressive averages of 20.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 5.1 assists through 72 games last season.
To put this into perspective, the only other players who exceeded these numbers in each category last season were Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo, the two most recent league MVPs.
The Hornets are viewed as an up-and-coming team with playoff aspirations after just knocking on the door with a 43-39, 10 seed finish last season. Led by 21-year-old All-Star point guard LaMelo Ball it’s evident that this youthful club could use some veteran experience, as the average age of their current roster is 24.5, making them the eighth youngest team in the league.
Randle, an eight-year veteran, could be that type of experienced individual for Charlotte and could simultaneously help the team fill their clear vacancy at starting power forward along the way.
With his addition, Charlotte would be adding a 20-plus point per game scorer from over the last five seasons into their already impressive rotation while essentially “buying-low” on a player who, just two seasons ago, was deemed the NBA’s Most Improved Player and finished within the top-10 of the league’s MVP race.