Knicks Make Important Call in Julius Randle’s Future: Report

Julius Randle of New York Knicks

Getty Julius Randle of the New York Knicks.

With Jalen Brunson taking the reigns of the offense for the New York Knicks next season, that might leave fans wondering what it means for incumbent star Julius Randle.

Since there wasn’t a true point guard on the roster last season once Kemba Walker was removed from the rotation, Randle found himself dominating more of the offense, something he’s been known to do in his career thanks to his ball-handling abilities.

However, the Knicks weren’t a great team with him running the offense, and as The Athletic’s Fred Katz notes, the team was “almost 10 points per 100 possessions worse when he was on the floor.”

Moving Randle would prove to be difficult, and as Katz mentions, there aren’t any teams out they dying to have him.

“I can’t speak for all 30 teams,” he said. “Maybe there is a front office I haven’t heard about that is seeking out Randle. But if there were, I would be surprised.”

Instead of trading him, it seems like the Knicks have actually gone through the effort of keeping him happy in New York. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reveals the Knicks made an offer to the Jazz for Donovan Mitchell that included Obi Toppin.

This could prove to be good news for Randle as it could indicate the Knicks plan on moving forward with him and his role is safe.

Randle Safe?

It’s no secret that Toppin struggles to find minutes in the lineup due to him playing the same position as Randle, and the fact that going small with the two of them together in the lineup would be disastrous for defense.

Toppin is a former lottery pick for the Knicks, but including him in trade talks does seem to mean New York has made their decision, at least according to the New York Post’s Marc Berman.

“That the Knicks reportedly are willing to give up 2020 lottery pick Toppin is a sign of their belief Julius Randle can return closer to 2020-21 form when he was second-team All-NBA,” he wrote. “They are hopeful Randle will be in a better space mentally than he was in 2021-22.”

Toppin has shown flashes of what he could become, and with more minutes he’d certainly put up more numbers, but it seems like the Knicks value what Randle brings to the table more right now.

Also, turning Toppin into Donovan Mitchell would be a huge move for the Knicks, and the Jazz would likely value a young talent on a team-friendly contract over Randle and his four-year, $117 million extension that kicks in this season.

Faith or Stuck?

While Randle can still put up good numbers, he didn’t do much to make the Knicks a better team last season as they followed up their successful season with a dud.

The contract seems to be the biggest thing holding back a Randle trade, and according to Katz, all a team has to do is call up the Knicks and it’s likely they could acquire the high-priced forward.

“But it’s not easy to take a $100 million risk after the performance he had in 2021-22, which is why there hasn’t been any traction on a Randle deal, even though each general manager knows that if he calls Leon Rose & Co., he could likely find a way to acquire the former All-Star,” he wrote.

As of right now, it looks like the Knicks will be going into the season with Randle as their starter, but things can change in a hurry in the NBA.

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