Nate Robinson Bats for Knicks to Trade Julius Randle for Former No.1 Pick

Knicks' Julius Randle

Getty Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks takes his spot on the court in the first half against the Orlando Magic.

If former Knicks guard Nate Robinson has a voice in the front office, he would love to get Zion Williamson in New York.

“I will probably trade and try to get Zion to New York City and then get a trainer and a nutritionist for him to get his body right,” Robinson told Heavy Sports in a media availability courtesy of bet365. “And I will tell Zion, I want the Zion that came out of Duke. I want the Duke [version of] Zion. That’s all they need.”

But such a dream trade would be at the expense of three-time All-Star forward Julius Randle, who plays the same position as Williamson.

“Who wouldn’t? You gotta give up some stuff to get the player that you want,” the 3-time NBA Slam Dunk champion said.

Randle is out for the remainder of the season due to a dislocated right shoulder. The team announced on April 4 that Randle would undergo a season-ending surgery after two months of rehabbing in the hopes of returning this season. He will be re-evaluated in five months and is expected to fully recover before next season.

Will the Knicks Re-Invest in Julius Randle?

Randle’s abruptly ended third All-Star season saw him average 24.0 points on 47.2% overall shooting and 31.1% 3-point shooting, 9.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 35.4 minutes across 46 games. He will be eligible for a four-year, $190.2 million extension this summer.

But another major surgery for the second straight year could give the Knicks a pause in re-investing in Randle, who will turn 30 in November.

If the Knicks do not extend Randle this summer, the two-time All-NBA player will enter the final guaranteed season of his current contract with a $29.4 million player option for the 2025-26 season.

The Knicks are about to become an expensive team.

Jalen Brunson is also eligible for a four-year, $156.5 million extension which could reach up to $270 million if he elects to wait another year. Their prized trade acquisition OG Anunoby is also due for a massive payday as an unrestricted free agent this summer. A league executive told Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney his new deal could reach $160 million over four years.

Will the team’s 12-2 record in January when Randle, Brunson and Anunoby played together be enough for the Knicks to lock them all into new deals this summer?

Should the Knicks Go All-In on Zion Williamson?

Last offseason, former New York Post’s Knicks beat reporter Marc Berman revealed the Knicks did their due diligence on Williamson.

“New Orleans is still not sold on Zion Williamson,” Berman said in October last year on the Knicks Recap Podcast. “Obviously, there’s a risk there. All eyes are on him this season. I was told the Knicks checked in over the offseason about Zion. That could be a possibility.”

“Listen, it’s a mystery with Zion. It’s all about his injury, health, and his weight, but he’s spectacular. Putting Zion in New York, Adam Silver would be dancing and doing cartwheels,” Berman continued.

After an early-season friction, Williamson has settled in nicely this season with the Pelicans. He is already assured of finishing the season with a career-high in games played since he arrived in the NBA with much hype in 2019.

Through 66 games, Williamson is averaging 22.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.7 blocks while shooting 58% from the field and 35.7% from the 3-point range.

The 23-year-old Williamson is coming off a monster effort — 29 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 blocks — in leading the Pelicans to a 113-105 win over the Phoenix Suns on April 7. A win against Portland Tuesday night (April 7) and Phoenix’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers could vault them to the sixth seed in the West with only one week left in the regular season.

Williamson is on the first year of a five-year, $197 million rookie max deal but the final three years are no longer guaranteed, per The Athletic, after he was able to only play in 29 games last season.