Proposed Trade Sees Knicks Ditch Julius Randle for Highly-Touted Rookie

Julius Randle, New York Knicks

Getty Josh Hart of the Portland Trail Blazers dribbles as Julius Randle and RJ Barrett of the New York Knicks defend.

When it comes to the New York Knicks, all fans and media pundits alike can seem to think about is what the team’s next course of action may be now that they’ve officially lost out on this summer’s Donovan Mitchell sweepstakes to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Though some believe that focusing on the club’s current core foundation heading into 2022-23 should be prioritized, the most popular pivot idea seems to be for the Knicks to look towards embarking on another pursuit via the trade market and, to many, the ideal scenario would be to see a deal take place that has power forward Julius Randle heading outbound.

Since his stellar All-NBA campaign back in 2020-21, the big man’s reputation has taken a bit of a nose dive due to his lackluster production last season coupled with his lofty new $117 million payday.

As a result, this offseason rumblings have surfaced noting that the Knicks’ front office has looked into moving on from the former All-Star, though, in his report, Fred Katz of The Athletic insinuated that there haven’t been many interested suitors.

Nevertheless, this hasn’t stopped media outlets from concocting hypothetical schemes to try and land Randle on another roster and, on September 19, Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report came up with a fresh new trade idea that he believes could realistically happen before the start of the regular season.

The framework of his proposed trade package reads as follows:

New York Knicks receive:

  • Josh Hart
  • Shaedon Sharpe

Portland Trail Blazers receive:

  • Julius Randle
  • 2023 first-round pick (via Dallas)

Knicks Swap a Pick for Promising Rookie

Should the Knicks trade Julius Randle, the consensus belief is that to entice a potential buyer, the franchise will almost certainly have to shell out some sort of draft compensation along the way.

To this point, however, it appears that Leon Rose and company are unwilling to include such assets in a potential package which, of course, complicates the agenda of parting ways with the big man any time soon.

And while them holding strong to these desires should certainly be admired, considering they hold the rights to a bevy of picks over the next several seasons, the concept of swapping one out in exchange for future cap flexibility and a highly-touted rookie in Shaedon Sharpe could prove to be their one exception.

At least, that’s what Bailey seems to believe.

“Ultimately, this is about getting out of the Randle contract,” Bailey wrote. “Last season, the Knicks were minus-3.3 points per 100 possessions when he played and plus-6.1 when he didn’t. And if the front office took the decision out of Tom Thibodeau’s hands, he’d almost have to play Obi Toppin more.

“This isn’t purely addition by subtraction, though. Hart can move the needle as part of wing-loaded lineups without demanding a ton of touches. And Sharpe, one of this summer’s higher-touted prospects, offers more upside than a pick that figures to be in the 20s.”

With this exchange, the Knicks would be adding a two-way wing in Josh Hart who, just last season, posted averages of 14.9 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game and the seventh overall pick from the 2022 NBA Draft in Sharpe all while ridding themselves of the four-years, $117 million left on Julius Randle’s contract, subsequently opening up a role within the starting frontcourt where 2020 lottery pick, Obi Toppin, would likely take over.

Considering the rookie wing has strong drawn comparisons to the likes of All-Star Andrew Wiggins and NBA legend Vince Carter, the Knicks very well could be open to including a pick along with Randle if it meant bringing a talent of this caliber back to New York in the process.


GM Sounds Off on Randle’s Trade Value

Though the New York Knicks may be open to traded Julius Randle at some point during this league year, when speaking with Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney an anonymous Eastern Conference general manager stated that there aren’t all that many teams inquiring about his services, with his current contract being 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 putting up a career-best season back in 2020-21, the Randle went on to re-up with New York on a lucrative contract extension through 2026.

Unfortunately, during his follow-up campaign, the 2021 All-Star’s production and efficiency plummeted astronomically in comparison to the season prior, finishing as the least-efficient number one scoring option in the NBA.

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