Houston Rockets Trade Target #2: Julius Randle, P.J. Tucker’s replacement
The Rockets and P.J. Tucker look to be headed for a divorce. Tucker has been a model of consistency and durability but at 35-years-old he doesn’t factor into the Rockets’ long-term plans. Julius Randle is the perfect replacement for Tucker because of his ability to defend multiple positions but he offers much more playmaking and shot creation than Tucker does.
Swinging a trade for Randle could be tough as he’s on a sizeable contract and he has been the Knicks’ best player. However, if the Knicks realize that this season shouldn’t be about winning games then moving Randle, in the midst of a career year, is a no-brainer.
Randle’s breakout season has primarily been a matter of circumstances and less of an actual leap in ability. Devoid of a credible point guard the Knicks have asked Randle to do the heavy lifting on offense as their primary shot creator.
Nothing should be taken away from Randle as he has admirably filled the void, and the stat sheet, to the tune of 22.3 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 5.8 assists a game, but on a better team he’d be posting more modest numbers. The area of his game where he has seen the greatest improvement this season has been in his 3-point shooting.
On the season, Randle is hitting a career-best 38.2-percent of his threes and has been particularly adept from corners with a 50-percent mark. A starting rotation of John Wall, Victor Oladipo, Christian Wood, Jae’Sean Tate, and Randle would be a fearsome lineup with the ability to cause defenses problems from all over the court.
To get Randle, the Rockets will have to send the Knicks serious draft capital, and the price could be as high as two first-round picks. Due to his salary and where the Knicks are in their rebuild a third team should come in to make the deal work.
In this trade, Houston would send P.J. Tucker to the Nuggets and Dante Exum to the Knicks. In return for moving Tucker to Denver, the Nuggets would send a first-round pick to the Knicks to lessen the asset burden for the Rockets.
At the end of the day, this trade works for everyone. The Knicks get assets and more financial flexibility, the Rockets get their P.J. Tucker replacement, and the Nuggets get a player that can help them in their own playoff push.
Next: Trade Target #1