‘Now Would Be The Best Time’ For Knicks to Trade Julius Randle: Reporter

Julius Randle, New York Knicks

Getty Julius Randle of the New York Knicks dribbles during the second half against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Through 40 games played the New York Knicks find themselves boasting a record of 22-18, good enough for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference standings, and, in turn, are soundly positioned to make a playoff run during the forthcoming second half of the campaign.

That said, despite their successes, there’s still an argument to be made that Leon Rose and company may wish to make at least one splashy move at some point between now and the February 9 trade deadline, and some believe said move could involve shipping star big man, Julius Randle, outbound.

In a January 5 appearance on “The Putback,” New York Daily News Knicks beat reporter Stefan Bondy made the case that while he is not an advocate for such a transaction, there’s reason to believe the Knicks could justify trading their 28-year-old power forward.

“(Randle) has obviously been up and down in his career. We saw what happens when he gets frustrated last season, we saw how low he can get after such a great All-NBA season during the pandemic, and, if you’re going to trade him and you have him on four years, they gave him a four-year deal, you trade him while the value’s high and right now it’s high,” Bondy said.

Bondy would wrap up his reasoning by once again highlighting that he doesn’t believe the Knicks should take part in such a drastic transaction, though did admit that he is “skeptical that Julius Randle is going to be able to keep up” the type of production he currently if putting forth moving forward and that if they were ever going to consider “moving in a different direction, now would be the best time.”

Knicks Don’t Have ‘Any Desire’ to Trade Randle

Despite Bondy’s objective justification, “The Putback” host and SNY NBA Insider Ian Begley made it very clear that, based on his understanding and intel, the Knicks are not looking to move on from Julius Randle any time soon.

“Prior to the draft last year I think there was more than cursory conversations about a deal involving Randle, but, ultimately, there was no buy-in at the top of the Knicks organization to pull the trigger on that deal and that’s why I’ve said since then…I don’t see a deal where the Knicks would just get off of Julius Randle…It’s not going to be some salary dump and I think that people in touch with the Knicks even recently are under the impression that the people at the top of the front office–Leon Rose, Williams Wesley, Brock Aller, Scott Perry, the whole group–I don’t think there’s any desire to trade Julius Randle,” Begley said.

As alluded to already, Randle has been a tremendous contributor for the Knicks throughout these first 40 games of the 2022-23 campaign, as he currently finds himself sporting averages of 24.4 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 3.8 assists on 46.2% shooting from the field and 35.0% shooting from distance while leading the team in box plus-minus, offensive box plus-minus, and win shares.

However, what has been more impressive has been his production since the start of December and, in turn, the overall team success that has come with it.

Over their last 18 games the Knicks have accumulated a stellar record of 12-6 while Randle has led the charge with exhilarating averages of 28.3 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 4.2 assists on 46.2% shooting from the field and 36.5% shooting from deep.

His play has warranted praise from the franchise’s loyal fanbase, with many suggesting that the ninth-year pro is well deserving of the second All-Star nod of his career.

Should the team keep up this current level of success, it seems that it’s more than likely Randle will finish off the 2022-23 season donning the orange and blue threads.

Knicks Monitoring Bulls Guard

Though the likelihood of the Knicks trading away Julius Randle this is slim, this is not to say that the front office isn’t still open to striking a major deal before February’s deadline.

In fact, recent rumblings suggest that New York is currently keeping a close eye on the situation between the Chicago Bulls and their All-Star talent, Zach LaVine.

During a recent appearance on The Ringer NBA Show, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reported that the Knicks have been “monitoring” the status of the guard and are awaiting to see if he’ll wind up being placed on the trade block at some point in the near future.

“They tried to get Donovan Mitchell. They’ve got their eyes on Zach LaVine. They’re monitoring him, they’re looking for the star that’s going to become available, which I think is, of course, they’re going to do that,” Scotto said.

Despite his best efforts and impressive averages of 23.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and a steal on 46.5% shooting from the floor and 40.1% shooting from distance, the Bulls have only managed to muster up a measly sub-.500 record of 18-21 and are currently on the outside looking in on a top-seven seed in the conference standings.

Considering this, coupled with the rumors of inner turmoil, many have already begun to speculate that the franchise could look to blow up their roster which, in turn, would likely see LaVine being shopped.

Should this happen, Scotto’s report suggests that the New York Knicks will be one of the first teams to dial up Chicago regarding a possible deal.