Option 2: Julius Randle, Elfrid Payton, and three first-round picks
The first trade idea is what the Rockets should ask for if no picks are involved. But if the Knicks think giving up both Randle and Barrett (who was a first-round pick himself in 2019) is too much, perhaps they would rather include a bag of draft picks attached to one of them instead.
The Rockets could stand to benefit from this themselves, as it is well-known that their draft pick well is running pretty dry these days. In terms of which years the Rockets would want picks for, that would depend on when the organization thinks the best talent will be available.
Regardless of which years the team decided, the Rockets should ask for the young talent and size of Randle, production-replacement at the point guard spot in Elfrid Payton, and three first-round picks from the Knicks.
A discussion would need to be had if this package was proposed with two picks instead of three, but at least in initial discussions, the Houston Rockets should ask for three to start and bargain from there.
If the Rockets were able to acquire these picks, their next course of action could lay in taking a shot at acquiring significant draft prospects, or they could do what they normally do and use them as sweeteners in other potential trade proposals.
In the last few years, we have seen several trades and proposals involving large numbers of first-round draft picks, so something like this is not out of the question. This is even more so the case with a team like the Knicks, whose front office is seemingly never averse to questionable decision-making.
Next: No. 3