Grade the Trade: Knicks flip All-Star for Timberwolves big man in howling proposal

The New York Knicks could use a second offensive star to pair with Jalen Brunson. Would this deal to flip Julius Randle for Karl-Anthony Towns do the trick?
Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves / Tim Heitman/GettyImages
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The New York Knicks had the path unfolding ahead of them. They took down Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers, were facing a beatable Indiana Pacers team and weren't afraid of a Boston Celtics team that they always played well. Jalen Brunson was scoring like the next coming of Allen Iverson, the role players fit like a glove and Tom Thibodeau was coaching as well as he ever had.

Then everything came screaming down around their ears, with injury after injury eventually resulting in the Westchester Knicks finishing Game 7 at Madison Square Garden to the tune of an Indiana blowout. It was a painful end to a promising season, but it also suggested that the path to the top of the mountain was close enough to reach.

The New York Knicks need a second star

Brunson was otherworldly carrying the Knicks' offense in the postseason, but for their offense to be good enough to truly compete for a title they need to add a second star. Ideally, that would be a no-doubt superstar, a Top-10 player to come in and elevate them on both ends of the court. Even while improving the roster and building a 50-win team, they have maintained the assets and flexibility to trade for a star when one comes available.

The problem that the Knicks might face this offseason is that no player worthy of going all-in hits the trade market. If Joel Embiid is content in Philadelphia, Giannis Antetokounmpo stays put in Milwaukee, LeBron James and Kevin Durant stick with their star-laden rosters, where is the Top-10 player for the Knicks to trade for?

Yet at the same time, they are good enough right now to compete in an Eastern Conference that is wide-open after the Boston Celtics. Can they make a move that improves their present while not closing the door on a blockbuster move in the future? That's the needle the front office will try to thread.

Looking around the league, just such an opportunity may be opening up in Minnesota for a team that made it one round further than the Knicks but also has to grapple with some tough questions this summer. Could the two teams work out a trade? Let's dig into one possibility and see whether it makes sense for the Knicks.