Although New York Knicks big man Julius Randle took backward steps in a number of areas in 2021-22, it’s worth noting that he still had a productive campaign for the club.
For the year, the 2021 NBA All-Star averaged 20.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game. Only three other players league-wide managed a 20-9-5 line this season: Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic. In other words, a veritable who’s who of the MVP conversation.
Still, the Knicks were outscored by 3.6 points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor, his basic numbers dropped across the board and his effective field-goal percentage checked in at a cringe-inducing 45.9.
As such, the calls for Obi Toppin to start — and for Randle to get dealt away — grew louder and louder within specific segments of New York’s fan base as the season wore on.
Whether that’s actually the way to go isn’t a black-and-white situation. If Knicks president Leon Rose does decide to make a change, though, here’s one deal that might be worth exploring.
Proposed Trade Brings Malcolm Brogdon to the Big Apple
Much has been said and written about the Knicks’ underwhelming point-guard rotation, and rightfully so. When Derrick Rose fell prey to injury and it also became clear that Kemba Walker was no longer that guy, Tom Thibodeau was actually of the belief that Alec Burks was his best option at the position.
It got that bad.
So, in an effort to give Toppin his big shot, bring in a battle-tested lead guard and also get something of value back for Randle, we’re pitching the following deal:
- New York Knicks receive: PG Malcolm Brogdon, 2023 first-round pick (via Cleveland)
- Indiana Pacers receive: PF Julius Randle
Brogdon would be a leader on the floor for the Knicks and, unlike those among New York’s current backcourt crop, he has elite size/length for a one at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds with a 6-foot-11 wingspan. He’s also a proven producer, having averaged 19.1 points, 5.9 assists and 5.1 rebounds per contest in ’21-22.
His size and skill set make him an option at the two as well, so Thibodeau would have the ability to pair him with Immanuel Quickley and/or Deuce McBride, should they continue to impress.
Meanwhile, the draft pick gives the Knicks an additional asset with which to make an additional move down the road.
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Randle Could Resurge & Get the Pacers Back Into the Playoff Mix
While Randle had a rough go this season, there was still a level of interest in him around the league before the trade deadline. Whether or not Indiana was in that camp, the baller could still help the small-market club regain some relevancy in next year’s playoff race.
Before the Pacers moved Domantas Sabonis, there was chatter that the team was looking to blow it up and rebuild. However, owner Herb Simon came out pretty strongly against the idea, as relayed by The Athletic’s Bob Kravitz. If hitting the reset button isn’t an option, acquiring (a hopefully re-energized) Randle makes sense.
Ahead of the deadline, the Pacers brought in a rising star in Tyrese Haliburton and a legit flamethrower in Buddy Hield by sending Sabonis to the Kings. Randle could fill the big man’s old spot while Brogdon’s exodus would mean keeping the ball in Haliburton’s hands, not to mention more minutes for Chris Duarte.
There are a lot of good teams in the East these days, but a Pacers squad featuring a Haliburton-Hield-Duarte-Randle-Myles Turner starting five could be competitive.