Knicks Trade Rumors: Terry Rozier Was Targeted; Julius Randle, More in Package

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 31, 2020

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 09: Terry Rozier #3 of the Charlotte Hornets controls the ball during the first half of an NBA game against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena on March 9, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The New York Knicks reportedly engaged the Charlotte Hornets in trade talks about point guard Terry Rozier before the 2020 NBA trade deadline in February.

Ian Begley of SNY reported Monday the sides discussed a deal that would have sent Rozier and Malik Monk to New York in exchange for Julius Randle, Dennis Smith Jr. and a future first-round draft pick, but they couldn't reach a final agreement.

The Knicks failed to make a major splash in free agency last summer when they were heavily linked to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who could have filled the team's long-lasting void at the point.

Rozier, who played alongside Irving with the Boston Celtics, can't match the six-time All-Star's track record, but he'd have brought some much-needed scoring punch on the perimeter. In his first year as a starter, the 26-year-old has averaged 18.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 63 appearances for Charlotte this season.

In November, the University of Louisville product said he almost landed with the Knicks in free agency before heading to the Hornets as part of a sign-and-trade deal featuring Kemba Walker.

"For a second, I thought this was the place. I thought I was going to be a Knick," Rozier told reporters in November. "Obviously going through free agency, it was kind of wild for me. But it's just a process of it. I thought I was going to be here. But it didn't happen that way."

Elfrid Payton has done well running the New York offense (7.2 assists per game, which rank 10th in the league), but he doesn't bring the same type of scoring ability as either Irving or Rozier, averaging 11.0 points in his six-year career.

It's an area the Knicks will once again look to upgrade during an offseason that figures to see plenty of change in the first summer under new president Leon Rose. In turn, some of the team's frontcourt depth will likely need to get cleared out, which could land Randle back on the block.

Randle has averaged 19.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 64 games during his first season with the Knicks. It's been "questioned internally" whether he'll fit alongside standout rookie RJ Barrett for the long haul, per Begley.

It could lead the Knicks and Hornets to restart talks before next season.