If the New York Knicks do find a way to trade for Donovan Mitchell before the start of the 2022-23 season, there’s been talk of a Julius Randle trade happening soon thereafter. One of the destinations that’s been brought up in discussions is the Los Angeles Lakers, which is where it all began for Randle back in 2014.
Randle’s four-year, $117 million extension that he signed before the start of the 2021-22 season won’t kick in until October when the new season begins. After leading New York to a playoff appearance in 2021, Randle struggled this past season even though he averaged 20.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 5.1 assists.
Fans have been clamoring for a Randle trade to happen during the offseason. Those wishes haven’t come true and as of right now, he’s going to be suiting up for the Knicks again in October. Things could change between now and then, but there’s no certainty that Randle will be traded.
Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes wrote a piece centered around deals for the league’s ‘least tradable contracts.’ And in it, Hughes proposed a trade for Randle that’d send him to another team in the Eastern Conference.
B/R proposes trade that would send Knicks’ Julius Randle to the Hornets
Here’s the deal that Hughes proposed, although he noted that New York would have to include a minimum salary to make the deal work because the Knicks would be $200,000 short of matching salary in this proposal.
There are certainly fans who would celebrate Randle being traded, but Gordon Hayward has struggled in Charlotte. After dealing with injuries with the Boston Celtics, Hayward signed a four-year, $120 million deal with the Hornets as a free agent in 2020. In 2020-21, he played in 44 games, and in 2021-22, he played in 49 games.
Besides Randle’s disappointing 2021-22, fans want him out of the way so that Obi Toppin can be a starter. This deal would allow for that to happen, but if a trade for Donovan Mitchell goes through, the Knicks could lose Toppin.
At 32 years old, Hayward wouldn’t be a big addition for New York, but he could provide shooting off the bench. He’d also be a liability because it’s been hard for him to stay healthy in recent years. The scare for fans would be that Tom Thibodeau would try to insert Hayward into the starting lineup, but that shouldn’t happen.
Charlotte would be giving up an injury-prone player for someone who was an All-Star in 2021. It’s been said numerous times that Randle could benefit from playing for a small-market team. He’d have the chance to have a bounce-back season with the Hornets without worrying about what comes with playing in NYC.
As mentioned above, if Randle were to be traded, it seems like it’d be more likely that he’d be headed back to LA. There are some Knicks fans who believe that Randle could succeed in New York during the upcoming season, but the majority opinion seems to be that most want him gone. This move would allow for those wishes to come true.