Knicks wanted to trade Julius Randle, Dennis Smith Jr. for Hornets’ Terry Rozier
According to SNY’s Ian Begley, the Knicks and Charlotte Hornets explored a swap that would have sent Julius Randle, Dennis Smith Jr., and a first-rounder to Charlotte in exchange for Terry Rozier and Malik Monk. But the pre-deadline dismissal of president Steve Mills and impending employment of Leon Rose limited the team’s deadline activity.
It’s unclear exactly how close the deal came to happening. Per Begley, the Knicks inquired about D’Angelo Russell before he was dealt to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Rozier signed a three-year, $58 million deal last summer, and was averaging 18.0 points per game for Charlotte. Monk was drafted 11th overall in 2017, and was surprised the Knicks passed on him to select Frank Ntilikina. The streak shooter had been showing promising strides before being suspended for violating the league’s drug policy.
Randle, too, is in the first year of three-year contract (worth $63 million, with the final year partially-guaranteed). He posted solid surface-level stats (19.5 PPG and 9.7 RPG), but his tendencies to stop the ball and clog the paint make him a shaky fit alongside Mitchell Robinson and R.J. Barrett.
Smith Jr. has had a nightmarish season (-17.1 net rating) and may want out of New York. Meanwhile, none of the other Knicks point(ish) guards (Elfrid Payton, Ntilikina, Allonzo Trier) have a case as the starting point going forward. Instead, Rose could look to the draft for a point or explore acquiring Fred VanVleet or Chris Paul.