The New York Knicks are looking at a big Julius Randle contract next season as his four-year, $117 million extension kicks in.
This wouldn’t be a bad thing if he kept his All-Star and All-NBA form, but last season was a regression across the board for the Knicks star. After being cheered for a whole year, Randle spent much of last season drawing the ire of fans.
He’s still young enough to get things turned around, but if he doesn’t then he has a massive price tag for a performance that’s not living up to expectations. To be fair, Randle is a talented player, but he might not be worthy of being the number one option on a playoff team.
With a report from Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer saying the Kings are open to trading the number four pick in the draft for an impact veteran, the timing might be perfect for the Knicks to flip Randle.
“Given that, there’s a strong belief among rival teams that Sacramento will explore trading the fourth selection, either out of the draft entirely for an impact veteran or down later in the lottery to net a contributing rotation player in the process,” he wrote.
Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero and Jabari Smith are expected to go in the top three, and then the draft takes a step down. With the Kings having the number four pick, they might feel like it’s worth rolling the dice on Randle.
Could the Trade Happen?
Building off Fischer’s report, Sports Illustrated’s Geoff Magliocchetti argues a Randle swap could “jump-start” both the Knicks and the Kings.
“Such a hypothetical deal with the Kings ensures that Randle could make an impact in a low-stress setting, while the Knicks move themselves into position to find a young difference-maker,” he wrote. “Separately, the Knicks and Kings have sputtered. Together, their paths to rebuilding could get a lot easier.”
The Kings sent Tyrese Haliburton out of town in exchange for Domantas Sabonis, and a trade for Randle would let him slide over to center while Randle plays power forward. There are definitely worse pairings in the NBA, and coupled with De’Aaron Fox, the Kings could have the makings of a solid core.
However, Randle’s contract could prove to be a problem, and it could even cost the Kings Fox in a trade, something that has been floated in the past. For the Knicks, this could be the best option for them to escape the looming extension. In this hypothetical, they would offload Randle and the No. 11 pick in exchange for the No. 4 one, but there would likely be more moving parts than that if this came into fruition.
Lots Can Happen
The Knicks have the making of a solid young core themselves, but adding the No. 4 pick into the mix could be an intriguing idea.
That spot could potentially allow them to draft a player like Jaden Ivey who would man their point guard spot. That’s a position of need for the Knicks, as it has been for decades now, and grabbing a top five talent like that could go a long way to filling that void.
If they held onto the No. 11 pick, the chances of getting a difference maker are lower, but it’s not impossible for the Knicks. To their credit, New York has been finding good pieces in the draft with Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin to name a few. If they can keep drafting like that, the Knicks won’t be down for long.