Evan Fournier commending Julius Randle
Source: Getty | Kevin C. Cox

NBA Rumors: Proposed Knicks-Blazers Trade Sends Julius Randle & Evan Fournier To Portland

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Mar. 12 2022, Published 10:37 a.m. ET

It may look like the Portland Trail Blazers have already given up on competing for the NBA championship title in the 2021-22 NBA season. However, they still don't have any plan of trading All-Star point guard Damian Lillard and undergoing a full-scale rebuild. Instead of taking a different route and focusing on developing their young players, the Trail Blazers remain committed to building a title-contending team around Lillard. When the season is over, the Trail Blazers are expected to be aggressive on the market, searching for quality players who would help Lillard carry the team to title contention.

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Hypothetical Knicks-Blazers Trade

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Source: Getty | Sarah Stier

One of the potential trade partners for the Trail Blazers in the 2022 NBA offseason is the New York Knicks. In a recent article, Jack Simone of Fansided's Hoops Habit suggested how the Knicks would be able to help the Trail Blazers improve their roster around Lillard next summer. In the proposed trade scenario, the Knicks would send Julius Randle and Evan Fournier to the Trail Blazers in exchange for Eric Bledsoe, Keon Johnson, a lottery-protected 2023 first-round a 2022 second-round pick. If the trade becomes a reality, Simone believes it would benefit both the Knicks and the Trail Blazers.

Rebuilding Roster Around RJ Barrett

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Source: Getty | Lachlan Cunningham

The hypothetical deal would be worth exploring for the Knicks, especially now that they are expected to suffer another disappointing season. Instead of competing with their current core without a realistic chance of capturing the Larry O'Brien Trophy, the suggested deal would enable the Knicks to rebuild their team around RJ Barrett.

"With the Eastern Conference rapidly improving, it's clear that the Knicks are simply a cut below the rest," Simone wrote. "So instead of continuing with their current core, why not clear up cap space and hit the reset button? This deal would see them shed huge chunks of salary, add a couple of picks, and start a much-needed rebuild around RJ Barrett and the rest of their young guys."

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Blazers Get Two Starters

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Source: Getty | Tim Nwachukwu

Randle and Fournier may have failed to live up to expectations from the massive contracts they signed with the Knicks, but they would still be incredible additions to the Trail Blazers. Randle and Fournier would give the Trail Blazers two starting-caliber players, one being a former All-Star and the other being a veteran sharpshooter. Randle would boost the Trail Blazers' frontcourt, while Fournier would replace CJ McCollum as Lillard's new backcourt partner next season. Sharing the court with two reliable floor spacers would make it easier for Lillard to penetrate the basket or kick the ball out when the opposing team's defense traps them.

Proposed Trade A No-Brainer For Blazers

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Source: Getty | Steph Chambers

Bringing Randle and Fournier to Portland would come with a risk for the Trail Blazers. Aside from their underwhelming performance this season, their massive contracts are also expected to significantly impact the team's salary cap flexibility. However, the proposed trade deal should still be a no-brainer for the Trail Blazers, especially if it would only cost them Bledsoe, Johnson, and two future draft picks.

If Randle and Fournier mesh well with Lillard and the trio manages to stay away from any major injury, the Trail Blazers would have a realistic chance of making considerable noise in the Western Conference next season.

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