The Boston Celtics and New York Knicks are two teams in the midst of very interesting seasons.
Boston entered the year as one of the favorites to ultimately emerge from the Eastern Conference and play in the 2021 NBA Finals. Thus far the team is 12-9 and in fourth place behind the Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets.
One of the main issues the Celtics currently have is that their front court is comprised of two awkward, slow-moving centers in Daniel Theis and Tristan Thompson. What the squad desperately needs is a more adaptable and agile power forward.
Obviously the Celtics players were very vocal about not trading for James Harden, but would the same be true for a player they actually respected?
New York, meanwhile, surprised a lot of folks by showcasing the sort of promise and defensive grit that hasn’t been seen from the franchise in over a decade. Sure, the 10-13 overall record leaves something to be desired – but the foundational pieces for success finally seem to be there.
This week, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report proposed an interesting trade that could make both of the aforementioned teams better.
It would involve Boston using its $28.5 million trade exception garnered from the Gordon Hayward swap in an effort to acquire Julius Randle, who is in the midst of a career year.
“Bringing in a more versatile power forward—one who can knock down threes at a higher clip and play-make for others at times—would help,” he wrote.
“Boston is just 29th in assist percentage (53.8 percent) and has remained in the bottom four even with Walker’s return from a knee injury. Julius Randle, 26, is assembling the best season of his career (22.5 points, 11.3 rebounds, 6.0 assists per game, 35.6 percent from three) for the New York Knicks. His long-term future with the franchise was in doubt after the team selected power forward Obi Toppin at No. 8 overall this past draft, meaning Randle could be available via trade.
“The Celtics’ $28.5 million trade exception from the Gordon Hayward sign-and-trade is more than enough to absorb Randle’s $18.9 million salary, so the sides wouldn’t have to match money when deciding on compensation.”
Now we know what motivates Gronk to play so hard. https://t.co/xFnKnjoXQ4
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 24, 2021
Randle is averaging 22.5 points, 11.3 rebounds, 6.0 assists per game, while shooting 35.6 percent from beyond the arc. He would immediately turn the Celtics into the East’s best team.
The Knicks, meanwhile, don’t really need Randle at this juncture. They are one of three teams viewed as favorites to land Victor Oladipo as well as one of Derrick Rose’s two preferred target destinations.