League teams believe that if the New York Knicks can finalize a trade for Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, the transfer of Julius Randle in a separate deal would likely follow.
The Knicks have been a reliable source of headlines throughout the NBA offseason so far. They were able to sign one of the best players on the free agent market in Jalen Brunson, and they are now bound to be a favorite in a trade to acquire Mitchell.
However, if they secured the services of the three-time All-Star, it would mean the team would have added a significant amount of incoming salary this summer. Then there’s the fact that talented winger RJ Barrett is hoping to land a max contract next year. This means the team will have to offload their salary if they plan to have Brunson, Mitchell and Barrett long term. Julius Randle and the four years and $117 million he has left on his contract would make sense as money that needs to go.
Related: New York Knicks interested in Russell Westbrook trade
On Wednesday, NBA insider Marc Stein reported that the league organization expects the Knicks to try to free up some cash after a trade with Mitchell and Randle is the overwhelming favorite to ship. to reach this goal.
“Keep an eye on them because the Knicks will have to look to take their salary out, realistically,” Stein said. “They’re accepting Mitchell’s contract, they just made Brunson a $100 million player, and they’re going to extend RJ Barret. They can’t have four guys making $100 million realistically if you want flexibility to improve the team beyond that. This therefore led other teams to believe that the Knicks would consider trading Julius Randle. And I’ve also been led to believe that Julius Randle is on that line.
New York Knicks possible trade partners in Julius Randle trade
If the Knicks are looking to buy the former All-Star on the trade market, which teams would be interested in accepting that kind of money? Here are three organizations that might be open to a Julius Randle exchange.
Los Angeles Lakers
In Stein’s report, he specifically mentioned the Los Angeles Lakers as a destination. Rumblings from the organization continue to suggest that shipping Russell Westbrook out of Los Angeles would be the preferred option. However, they do not want to abandon asset projects or accept another bad contract as part of a transaction. However, Stein reports that Randle – who was drafted by the Lakers in 2014 – is a player the team would seriously consider returning to get rid of “Westbrick”.
That doesn’t unload any money for the Knicks this year, but will after 2022-23 when Westbrook becomes a free agent.
The Indiana Pacers took a surprising turn in free agency when they attempted to sign Deandre Ayton earlier this month. However, much to the shock of many in the league, the Suns actually matched the offer sheet for the talented big man. With plenty of cap space remaining and a strong core of young talent, the team could see Randle as a strong veteran presence to help them out in the short and long term. Especially if the Knicks also send a first-round pick.
The move would give them a legitimate goalscorer and someone who point guard Tyrese Haliburton could play for.
San Antonio Spurs
Like the Pacers, the San Antonio Spurs still have plenty of cap space available. With the team in the midst of rebuilding – especially after trading Dejounte Murray – Randle could also be seen as a reliable star for the Spurs to develop young side talent if the Knicks pack Randle with draft picks.
- Julius Randle stats (2021-22): 20.1 PPG, 9.9 REB, 5.1 AST, 30% 3P FG
New York will likely have to give up at least six next first rounds for Mitchell. Anything left of their eight over the next few seasons could go to Spurs with the 27-year-old.