Knicks: Top trade targets who could fill in for Julius Randle

Utah Jazz forward John Collins (20) (New York Knicks trade target) drives to the basket in the first quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The red-hot New York Knicks will be forced to deal with adversity following Julius Randle’s awaited injury news being released Monday morning. Per Shams Charania of The Athletic, Randle is expected to be sidelined for at least the next few weeks after suffering a dislocated shoulder in their dominating 16-point win over the Miami Heat this past Saturday.

Leon Rose, Knicks president, who has already been busy acquiring OG Anunoby from the Raptors earlier this month, will now have to find an under-the-radar player in the trade market to fill in for Randle during his absence.

In what has been a great season so far for the Knicks, being fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 29-17 record, they must find a way to weather the storm until Randle returns, without also breaking the bank.

John Collins Could Fill Julius Randle’s Void

After already losing Mitchell Robinson earlier this year to a possible season-ending injury, and now Randle for at least a few weeks, the Knicks’ frontcourt continues to get thinner. There are not many forwards in the Association that can match Randle’s 24 points per game, 9.2 rebounds per game, and five assists per game. But former All-Rookie F John Collins offers a compelling combination of scoring and rebounding that the Knicks can utilize to still compete with the best teams in the East.

The 26-year-old forward is averaging 14.1 points per game and 7.9 rebounds per game with the Utah Jazz. He could keep the Knicks’ offense afloat during this period and for the future. With two more years of control and a player option for 2026, a package of Evan Fournier, Malachi Flynn, and a draft pick could be a deal that the Jazz would possibly consider.

This would allow Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau to continue to have forwards Precious Achiuwa and Josh Hart come off the bench in their current roles and insert Collins’ immediate scoring in the starting five. Keeping Anunoby at his natural small forward position, where he thrives, is another benefit that the Knicks gain from this deal.

Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) runs towards the basket against the New York Knicks during the second half at State Farm Arena
Feb 15, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) runs towards the basket against the New York Knicks during the second half at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Other Potential Targets for the Knicks

Detroit Pistons guard Alec Burks (14)  (New York Knicks trade target)
Jan 15, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Alec Burks (14) runs down the court during the game on Martin Luther King Jr. Day against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

There are other cheaper options on the trade market that the Knicks can resort to if needed, Alec Burks being one of the names that has been mentioned in the media. Burks offers an exceptional three-point shooting percentage, shooting 40.1% from three over the course of this season.

The 32-year-old veteran has scored 24 or more points in four games this year, potentially giving the Knicks a player who could score at a prolific rate on any given night. Having already played in the bright lights of Madison Square Garden, Burks is a player that the Knicks can trust that the pressure of playing in New York won’t be too much for him to meet expectations.

With two second-round picks in the next two drafts in their back pocket, the Knicks have the assets to pull off a trade that can not only fill the absence of Randle, but also bolster the team for a title push when he returns.

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