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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Should the Knicks make this trade?

Julius Randle missed the entire postseason run for the Knicks, so the question of whether he could have been the second option that they needed is not fully answerable. His track record suggests that he is a capable scoring threat who isn't efficient enough or versatile enough to elevate an offense, especially when facing playoff defenses. The Knicks would be right to upgrade.

Is Karl-Anthony Towns the right player to upgrade with? This deal assumes that no Top-10 player becomes available on the market; if Joel Embiid becomes available, for example, the Knicks need to win that bidding war. On a team packed with ideal role players for a contending team, they need to find a co-star to pair with Jalen Brunson.

If that player is not available Towns is an intriguing addition. His shooting at either the 4 or the 5 is elite, even if it's a bit streaky; he is a career 39.8 percent 3-point shooter and hit 41.6 percent this year. He rebounds with ferocity, something that Tom Thibodeau will love, and has improved as a defender and playmaker over the past few seasons.

The other reason why adding Towns would make sense is that the Knicks are likely going to be living in the second tax apron (subscription required) for a few years after this one, and having Towns' large salary to send out in a future trade is a real weapon. If the Knicks were above that line and wanted to trade for a star, they would be unable to add salaries together to get to the right amount and unable to add salary in a deal. Having Towns opens up nearly the entire league for a deal without hard-capping them at the second apron.

Towns is certainly not an ideal star to commit to, but he would be an offensive improvement and give them a real weapon in the frontcourt. Having OG Anunoby and Josh Hart playing alongside him would provide a similar defensive support system as he experienced in Minnesota when he was part of the league's No. 1 defense.

There may be better deals out there, but to both keep the powder dry and improve for next season, this is a fairly solid trade. The Knicks should at least talk this one through.

Grade: B

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