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Lakers Trade Rumors: Knicks' Julius Randle Doesn't Interest LA Due to Contract Length

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVAugust 24, 2022

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With the Brooklyn Nets appearing set to run it back for the 2022-23 season with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, at least for the time being, the Los Angeles Lakers have lost one of their rumored trade targets in Irving.

Assuming the Lakers will do everything they can to trade Russell Westbrook before the season—and given last year's disastrous experiment with Westbrook on the roster, it should be a major priority—the question becomes which players the team might be able to get in return.

Don't expect one of them to be New York Knicks big man Julius Randle.

According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, "The Lakers aren't interested in taking back Randle from the Knicks, considering his contract (three years plus a player option on the fourth year) and less-than-ideal fit with Anthony Davis and LeBron James."

Randle is set to make $117 million over the next four seasons with the Knicks, though the final year of that deal is a $29.4 million player option.

So that long-term contract—paired with the fact that the Lakers would still need to take on additional salary in a Westbrook deal, since the veteran point guard is set to make $47 million this season, compared to Randle's $23.7 million—makes him a less-than-ideal fit if the Lakers are looking to stay financially nimble with the roster around James and AD.

But if Randle were a perfect basketball fit, the Lakers probably would be less concerned with the financial implications of adding him to the team.

Randle, however, is a pretty awful basketball fit. He best slots in as a post-heavy 4 who doesn't space the floor very well. While Randle did shoot 41.1 percent from three in the 2020-21 season, that was a major outlier, as he's a career 33.2 percent shooter from beyond the arc and dipped down to 30.8 percent last season.

James and Davis ideally need as many shooters to space the floor around them as possible, which is one of the major reasons why Westbrook was such a brutal fit. But Davis and James are also both capable of playing the 4, and bringing in Randle would push AD to center, which means more wear-and-tear on the block for the already injury-prone star during the regular season.

Running James at the 3 is less of an issue since he's basically a point-forward anyway. But Randle's issues from beyond the arc would only exacerbate the team's spacing issues.

One of the reasons a Myles Turner and Buddy Hield swap for Westbrook makes more sense is that Turner is a rim-protecting center who can hit threes at a decent clip (34.9 percent for his career)—making him a nice pairing with AD on both sides of the court—while Hield is a catch-and-shoot threat who would instantly improve the team's spacing.

Whether that deal comes to fruition remains to be seen. But it would make far more sense than the Lakers pursuing a player like Randle.

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