The NBA rumor mill is starting to crank full speed with the Feb. 6 trade deadline closing in, and the Knicks are in the center of it all. First, it was reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic on Monday that New York has shown interest in trading for the Warriors' D'Angelo Russell.
Later on Monday, Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer reported the Knicks have had trade talks with the Hornets about Julius Randle -- who the Knicks signed this past summer to a three-year, $63 million deal as something of a consolation prize after missing out on Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
SYN's Ian Begley then furthered that report with more details:
Some names that came up in Hornets and Knicks recent talks included Julius Randle, Dennis Smith Jr., Terry Rozier and Malik Monk, per SNY sources. Ringer first reported that Knicks and Hornets had recently discussed Julius Randle.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) February 4, 2020
Rozier is having a relatively solid season at 18 points per game on a career-high 39 percent from beyond the arc, and obviously, the Knicks are prioritizing point guards with the talks of Russell and now Rozier. Charlotte gave Rozier a three-year, $58 million deal in what was largely viewed as a reactionary overpay in the wake of losing Kemba Walker this summer, and perhaps getting off that deal while acquiring Randle looks pretty good to the Hornets -- though it has to be pointed out that Randle has almost exactly the same deal.
You could easily argue Rozier and Randle are largely equivalent players, making this a pure fit thing. New York wants a point guard, while Randle could be seen as a somewhat redundant offensive player to R.J. Barrett, who is the future. Not to mention the Knicks are adamant they want to keep Marcus Morris, who occupies similar spaces as Randle.
Meanwhile, the Hornets have found a gem in Devonte' Graham at point guard and could see Rozier as redundant at that spot, but they could perhaps put Randle to use.
Finally, Monk and Smith Jr. are both former lottery picks who haven't panned out, and it would just be both teams taking a shot that a change of scenery could spark one of them.
You might never find another trade rumor in which all the players involved feel more equal. From a pure talent standpoint, it's hard to see what either team would gain, or lose, in this scenario. For both sides, it would be all about perhaps balancing lineups.