Could Knicks Look To Trade Julius Randle After Season?

Julius Randle, New York Knicks, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

Things have not gone well for the New York Knicks this season. Following a playoff appearance and earning the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference for the 2020-21 NBA season, the Knicks look like they will be back in the lottery in 2022.

Some regression to the mean was expected, but the Knicks have bottomed out this season, leading to plenty of questions about their future. Is Tom Thibodeau still a good fit for the team as head coach? Some people don’t believe he is the man for the job anymore despite taking home the Coach of the Year award last season.

Another person that some of the fan base has soured on is Julius Randle. Randle was the talk of the town during the 2020-21 season as he made the All-Star team, was named Most Improved Player of the Year and earned a spot on the All-NBA Second Team. This season, he hasn’t been able to consistently replicate that success.

There was some chatter ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline that Randle could be on the move. The Sacramento Kings were mentioned as a potential landing spot in a deal centered around De’Aaron Fox to fill the gaping hole at point guard that the New York Knicks have.

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While making an appearance on the HoopsHype Podcast, Stefan Bondy discussed some of the Randle trade rumors and what to make of them.

“Yeah, I think there’s a possibility, but I will caution that any talk of Randle getting traded at the deadline, I think there wasn’t much to it. There might have been some calls here and there, but nothing ever got serious at all. I think the Knicks are smart enough to understand why would they trade this guy at his lowest point when we wouldn’t get much back for him?”

Julius Randle’s value is certainly in a valley after peaking last season. His first season with the Knicks was a mitigated disaster, but he was able to get back on track in Year 2. Year 3 has been somewhere in the middle of those two, as some of the negatives from the first season have reared their ugly head, but he has also shown the dominant flashes we saw last season.

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That puts the Knicks in quite a predicament, but even with his play not being at the same level, New York isn’t hurting from a cap perspective. Randle signed an extension, but it isn’t a max deal, something that provides New York with some flexibility.

“You mentioned the extension. It’s not a max contract, so it’s not like he’s going to start making $30 million off the bat next season. It’s still a very reasonable contract in terms of today’s NBA, and when you look at these insane numbers being thrown around for players who don’t produce as much as Randle. I still think he’s an asset. I think he’s going to have nights like he had in Sacramento. You hope next season will be different.”

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When Julius Randle is on, he is certainly tough to stop. We have seen some big performances in recent weeks from him, looking more like the 2021 All-Star. There are still some lapses at times, which the losing will exacerbate.

But, as Bondy pointed out, there is still a lot of value in having someone such as Randle. He may not be cut out to be a No. 1 player on a winning team, but his skill set is one that certainly makes him capable of carrying a team for a period of time and being a strong No. 2 or 3 option for a contending team.

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