With his 2020-21 All-NBA performance that helped break an eight-year-long playoff drought, within just two years of signing on with the organization Julius Randle had won the hearts of virtually every New York Knicks fan.
Having said that, after a tumultuous third year, heading into 2022-23 the franchise’s faithful followers are anything but jubilant to see the power forward returning as New York’s presumed number one option.
Though running the same system and having been surrounded by essentially the same supporting cast, Randle simply could not play at the same type of level he did during his All-Star campaign and, with this, put forth one of the most inefficient seasons out of all top-options in the league last season.
As a result of his lackluster production after having just inked a new four-year, $117 million contract with the Knicks during the previous offseason, the big man has seemingly been viewed as public enemy number one by New York-centric outlets and publications while his name has often been found floating around the league’s trade rumor mill.
Despite all this, however, it seems as though Randle is heavily focusing on the upcoming season, and even sent a cryptic message on his Instagram account by deleting all of his previous activity and putting up a new post with a collage of workout photos with a caption of “Back at it!
With this, Knicks fans took to the comments section to show their support for the 2021 All-Star and voice their hopes of seeing a bounce-back season, to which the 27-year-old was found responding with an optimistic tone and words of gratitude.
As things currently stand, there is no evidence that suggests the New York Knicks will be offloading Randle before tip-off to 2022-23.
Randle’s 2021-22 Stats Still Impressive
Despite his inefficiencies in 2021-22, from solely a baseline, individual statistics standpoint Julius Randle still found himself putting up some solid numbers to finish off his eighth year in the association.
Even with this “down year,” Randle still went on to put up impressive per-game averages, posting 20.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 5.1 assists through 72 games. 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 this year’s campaign 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 the big man.
Knicks Could Trade With Lakers
Some believe that the New York Knicks still have a strong desire to make a splashy transaction before the start of the season even after having failed to acquire Donovan Mitchell this summer.
Should this be the case, there are plenty of directions the front office could choose to go in and, according to a September 8 article by SNY’s David Vertsberger, a deal between the Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers should be strongly considered.
“The Lakers are looking to dump Russell Westbrook’s salary along with first-round picks to secure a talent upgrade,” Vertsberger wrote. “New York could package Randle and Fournier for Westbrook and two firsts in concept…”
Now, while Vertsberger would continue on by stating that the Lakers may not be all that willing to partake in a transaction such as this, as they have “fought back” against dealing their upcoming capital, this deal could easily be a major win for New York as it would clear up the combined $162 million remaining on both Randle and Fournier’s contracts while also netting them future draft capital in the process.