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Julius Randle for Russell Westbrook? Lakers & Knicks Trade Could Shake Up NBA

As the Lakers growing increasingly wary of Russell Westbrook's contract, the Knicks might be able to help.

A former MVP to NYC? The Los Angeles Lakers might be desperate enough to make it happen.

The New York Knicks are among five candidates listed in a Bleacher Report compilation honestly admitting that the Lake Show could be forced into a deal to unload the $47 million-plus attached to Russell Westbrook and his expiring contract. 

To be fair to the west coast, the Knicks are in somewhat equally dire straits ... this is a team that's still taking a $41 million-plus to Evan Fournier and Julius Randle ... but a deal for Westbrook would bring relative financial bliss to both sides.

In such a deal, the Knicks would take on Westbrook, the Lakers' first-round pick in 2027 (with top five protection) while Randle would return to the west coast with his New York teammate Fournier. That pick could become even more valuable as the Knicks continue on their quest to obtain Donovan Mitchell, as his current Utah employers have set their sights on what's already a crowded draft cabinet for the Knicks.

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"If a trade indeed goes down for Mitchell, he would get a chance to recruit another star to New York to join a core with Barrett, Jalen Brunson, Mitchell Robinson, and others," the list explains. "This could also turn into a three-team deal, with the future first from the Lakers used to help the Knicks acquire Mitchell."

This deal would create a reunion between Randle and the Lakers, who hosted the $117 million man's first four NBA seasons. Fournier is referred to as a "floor-spacer" that can help with LeBron James' passing while Randle is offered a supreme compliment as "arguably the best player the Lakers can actually get in return for Westbrook," even if he "isn't necessarily the best fit with this roster."

"Randle and Fournier are overpaid, but can still be quality starters in the NBA," is how the list explains how the trade works in the Lakers' favor. "Given the amount of money remaining on each of their contracts, the Lakers only sacrifice the 2027 first and get to keep the 2029 pick."

While a trade like this has a ton of obstacles, the Knicks move in a different direction if the trade goes through ... and any direction is better than the one it had last season -- straight to the lottery once again.