The New York Knicks have the No. 11 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, but there’s a chance that the organization could find a way to move up. According to a recent report, the Sacramento Kings might be interested in trading their No. 4 pick.
There are several players on the Knicks’ current roster that could be off of it by the start of the 2022-23 season. Kemba Walker, Nerlens Noel, and Alec Burks could all be on new teams in the coming months.
But there’s also Julius Randle, whose four-year, $117 million extension that he signed ahead of the 2021-22 season is set to kick in next year.
The 27-year-old forward’s said that he wants to remain in New York, but there’s plenty of reason to believe that he (or the front office) could be thinking something different. It’s a long offseason, after all.
Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported that there’s a belief that the Kings could be interested in parting ways with their top four draft pick, and if that ends up being the case, the Knicks’ front office should explore that avenue.
Will Julius Randle be traded to the Kings so that Knicks can have the No. 4 pick?
Sacramento finished the regular season 12th in the Western Conference with a 30-52 record and held the seventh-best lottery odds. The Kings’ 32% chance at a top four pick ended up paying off and they could be looking to use that as leverage in a future deal. Fischer wrote:
Given that, there’s a strong belief among rival teams that Sacramento will explore trading the fourth selection, either out of the draft entirely for an impact veteran or down later in the lottery to net a contributing rotation player in the process.
Does Randle fit the “impact veteran” label? Yes. As it stands, Sacramento’s starting power forward is Trey Lyles, who was traded from the Detroit Pistons to the Kings ahead of the deadline this past year.
The 26-year-old averaged 10.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in the 24 games (20 starts) he played in for Sacramento. Lyles shot 48.9% from the field and 36.5% from the 3-point line. He has a $2.7 million club option for 2022-23.
At such a low price, the Kings should pick that option up and he could come off the bench for Randle.
The 2021 All-Star performs better on the West Coast and with a small-market team like Sacramento, it could prove to be a better atmosphere for Randle.
Honestly, a starting lineup made up of De’Aaron Fox, Davion Mitchell, Harrison Barnes, Randle, and Domantas Sabonis wouldn’t be half bad, but that’s assuming that the Kings don’t trade those four players during the offseason.
Sacramento shocked everyone by trading Tyrese Haliburton away a few months ago, so you can’t know what to expect from that organization.
Also, Sabonis and Randle might not be the two best players to put together on the basketball court. Randle would need to learn how to function alongside a player like Sabonis who also likes to have the ball in his hands.
Nonetheless, if the Kings are open to hearing trades, Leon Rose needs to at least explore that option. It could open up the door for New York to land a player like Jaden Ivey, who was slotted to go No. 5 in ESPN’s recent mock draft.
With the draft being a little over a month away, Knicks fans should get more clarity soon about Sacramento’s plans. But it’s safe to say that Randle being sent to California might end up being the best thing for both him and New York’s fanbase.