The Knicks remain focused on a Donovan Mitchell trade but, if that deal happens, New York could quickly make another trade involving the Lakers.
It’s probably the NBA’s worst-kept secret right now that the New York Knicks want to be the team that wins the Donovan Mitchell trade sweepstakes. The organization has not hidden its interest and, as teams wait for the trade market to normalize, they are clearly waiting to strike so they can make a deal with the Utah Jazz.
What’s been talked about less, however, is what the next move for the Knicks could be if they are able to get Mitchell to the Big Apple.
As it turns out, the next move could involve the Los Angeles Lakers. This weekend, NBA insider Marc Stein reported that LA would potentially “engage” with the Knicks about a trade for Julius Randle as the Lakers would be interested in having the forward on a long-term deal for big money.
NBA Trade Rumors: Lakers could trade for Julius Randle if Knicks land Donovan Mitchell
There is, of course, a bit of irony with Los Angeles being in on Randle given that he was initially a first-round pick by the Lakers back in 2014 but the team denounced his rights after the 2017-18 season, leading to his signing with the Pelicans before landing with the Knicks.
With that said, Randle is a decisively better player — albeit still an imperfect one — than he was at that stage of his career. And as LA continues to eye ways to maximize the title window in the late stages of LeBron James’ career, Randle is a versatile piece who could certainly help the cause.
What would be interesting is to see how aggressive the Lakers would be in that deal. They could potentially look to add Russell Westbrook to a trade to get his albatross contract off the books, but that would also mean emptying their already-barren chest of assets to get the Knicks to take on that money.
At the same time, though, New York landing Mitchell to pair with a core that includes R.J. Barrett and others would afford them some luxuries and a desire to accrue draft capital in any manner, which a trade with LA involving Randle would do.
Multiple reports have suggested that the NBA trade market will take some time to normalize as the asking price for stars is astronomical at the current juncture thanks to the Rudy Gobert trade. That could make things slow moving for the Knicks but, if they get Mitchell in the end, chances are they’ll be more than willing to wait.