When players who signed new contracts in the 2019 NBA free agency became eligible to be traded, rumors started to circulate around Julius Randle and his future with the New York Knicks. Though he’s currently performing very well in the 2019-20 NBA season, reports have surfaced that the Knicks are open to moving Randle before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline. According to Sharif Norman of Fansided’s Empire Writes Back, one of the NBA teams who may consider trading for Randle is the Portland Trail Blazers.
Since the start of the 2019-20 NBA season, the Trail Blazers have been seemingly active on the trade market, searching for players that could help boost their frontcourt. Of all the big men linked to the Trail Blazers, Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star power forward Kevin Love emerged as the No. 1 favorite trade target for Portland. However, if they fail to acquire Love, Norman believes that Randle wouldn’t be a bad “fall back option” for the Trail Blazers.
Randle may not be as good and popular as Love, but he would still be an incredible addition to the Trail Blazers. Randle would give the Trail Blazers a reliable scoring option, incredible rebounder, facilitator, and floor-spacer. This season, the 25-year-old power forward is averaging 18.8 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 3.3 assists while shooting 45.9 percent from the field and 30.0 percent from beyond the arc.
In the proposed trade deal by Fansided’s Empire Writes Back, the Trail Blazers would be sending a trade package including Hassan Whiteside, Skal Labissiere, and a 2020 first-round pick to the Knicks in exchange for Randle and Elfrid Payton. The deal works on ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine. If the trade becomes a reality, Norman believes that it would not only be beneficial for the Trail Blazers but also for the Knicks.
“This is yet another scenario where the Knicks make a move for their future, as they look to add cap space. We had seen them do this before with DeAndre Jordan last year. The Knicks would receive an expiring contract with Hassan Whiteside’s deal, which comes to an end after the 2019-2020 season. While Skal Labissière doesn’t have to be the exact piece to complete this deal, the Knicks in return would want to get some young talent back. Labissière is only 23 years old, and while this would be his third team In four years, he is still a raw prospect and has some upside to his game.”
In exchange for Randle, the Knicks would be acquiring another intriguing prospect in Labissiere and a future first-round pick that could help them speed up the rebuilding process. Trading Randle for Whiteside’s expiring contract would enable the Knicks to open up more salary cap space that they could use to chase the likes of Anthony Davis in the 2020 NBA free agency.