Trade No. 3: Julius Randle, Immanuel Quickley, first-round pick for Karl-Anthony Towns
The Minnesota Timberwolves are having the season this year they thought they would have last year, with their defensive pieces coming together to give them the best defense in the league. They have knocked off the best team in each conference already, and Anthony Edwards looks like he’s taking yet another leap into superstardom.
At the same time, they are getting next to nothing from Karl-Anthony Towns, who has struggled mightily shooting himself this season. Not historically bad in the Randle-range, but below his standards; he’s hitting just 30.8 percent of his 3-pointers, by far a career-low, and has 2.6 turnovers per game to just 2.3 assists.
Could the two teams work out a deal to free both of their star bigs from their current situations? Julius Randle is a more mobile defender than Towns, making him a better fit with Rudy Gobert, and he makes less money, a necessity for a Timberwolves team about to skyrocket past the second tax apron with their current roster.
For the Knicks, they get a better offensive player in Towns who can play more minutes at center for the Knicks and has fewer poor shooters filling the rotation with him. He elevates their offensive ceiling, gives Jalen Brunson a legitimate co-star, and gives them better spacing to configure the rest of the rotation.
There are no perfect solutions available unless Julius Randle starts playing much better and resuscitates his value, or another true superstar becomes available like Joel Embiid. Otherwise, the Knicks might be best served getting out of the Julius Randle game altogether and blazing a new trail forward, one without his many field goal attempts clanking off of the rim.