After striking out on the Donovan Mitchell sweepstakes this offseason, many believe the New York Knicks could now look to shift their efforts and attention to pursuing another type of transaction that, in theory, would help reshuffle their rotation for the better heading into the 2022-21 campaign as well as for the many years to come.
The alternative idea: offload Julius Randle and his remaining four-year under contract.
A concept already reported as being sought after by New York’s front office personnel earlier this summer, many fans and media pundits alike are rather open to seeing such a pivot take place.
However, though popular in theory, when speaking with Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney an anonymous NBA general manager implied that this hypothetical move could prove to be a tad bit unrealistic in practice, citing his lofty salary as a major reason why.
“Well, where is he going to go,” the executive told Deveney when asked whether the Knicks will look to trade Randle.
“They owe him $107 million over the next four years. There is no one looking to take that on. If you give out that kind of extension and then you’re looking to trade the guy a year later, you’re not getting anything of value in return. The only chance they have is that he has a bounce-back year then they can look to deal him next summer.”
After netting himself the first All-Star and All-NBA selections of his career back in 2020-21, the power forward earned a lucrative contract extension that following summer.
Unfortunately, Randle’s production and efficiency plummeted quite drastically during his follow-up campaign and, as a result, has seen his reputation across the league take a considerable hit.
Randle Still a High-End Talent
Despite his inefficiencies and 2021-22 being widely considered a “down year” for the 27-year-old, from strictly an individual statistics standpoint Julius Randle still ended up posting some impressive numbers to finish off his eighth year in the association.
Through 72 games played, the big man still went on to put up impressive per-game averages, posting 20.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 5.1 assists. To put this into perspective, the only other players who exceeded those numbers in each category last season were Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
If he can put up similar numbers to these during the first year under his new contract in 2022-23 while also improving upon his shooting splits (converted on 41.1% of his attempts from the floor and 30.8% from distance) and turnover rate (coughed up 3.4 as night) another All-Star nod could certainly be in the realm of possibility for Randle.
Knicks, Nets Could Be Ideal Trade Partners
When sitting down with Heavy.com, the general manager also broached the subject of alternative blockbuster trade ideas the New York Knicks could look to pursue now that Donovan Mitchell is in Cleveland, and mentioned that a deal for Brooklyn Nets star, Kyrie Irving, could be a surprisingly realistic venture.
“The Knicks would have a chance to re-sign him — that’s one of the big fears about dealing for Irving, that he is not going to stick around after the season, he is a rental player,” the executive told Deveney.
The general manager would later go on to state that though Irving may be a superstar talent in the league, due to his off-the-floor issues coupled with his expiring contract New York could wind up possessing the best trade chips if Brooklyn were to shop the disgruntled point guard.
“But if you send out Evan Fournier and Derrick Rose and a pick, the Nets would have to consider that. It’s not much but if they are not sure Irving will be back, they might not do much better.”
A seven-time All-Star, three-time All-NBA selection, and an NBA Champion, Irving finds himself coming off of an incredibly productive 2021-22 campaign where he posted stellar per-game averages of 27.4 points, 5.8 assists, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.4 steals on 46.9% shooting from the floor and a career-best 41.8% shooting from distance.