Julius Randle has ridden the highs and lows of being one of the New York Knicks‘ premier talents.
During the 2020-21 season, Randle was unquestionably the Knicks’ star player, as he helped lead them into the playoffs, and emerged as one of the better forwards in the NBA. However, this past season, Randle fell from grace, struggling to replicate his dominant performances and experiencing a breakdown in his relationship with the Knicks fan base.
Now, as we continue our way through the off-season, questions continue to swirl about Randle’s long-term future with the Knicks, especially as the front office continues to covet Donovan Mitchell. However, according to one Eastern Conference executive, who spoke to Heavy.com under the condition of anonymity, Randle is unlikely to be traded this summer, primarily due to there being no market for his services.
“There’s just no market out there for him. If they land Donovan Mitchell, you will have two guards who need the ball, him and Jalen (Brunson) and we have seen that Julius really is only successful when things run through him. R.J. Barrett is going to need the ball. How is it going to be, Randle as the No. 4 option?
I like a frontcourt with Mitchell Robinson and Obi Toppin playing with those guys, running with some tempo, getting up and down. It is hard to see where the Knicks have Randle fitting into all that but it is harder to see where they can trade him. Trust me, if they could have had a deal for him, it would be done already,” The executive told Heavy.com’s, Sean Deveney.
Randle ended last season averaging 20.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game while shooting 30.8% from deep, and 41.1% from the field. Of course, if he tumbles down the Knicks’ offensive hierarchy, he could struggle to maintain such a high-level output next season.
Knicks Taking Calls for Randle
While the market for Randle seems to be minimal, the six-foot-eight forward still has admirers around the league, after all, we all saw what he’s capable of when he’s locked in and engaged.
According to a source who spoke with Heavy’s Sean Deveney, the Knicks have taken some calls about Randle’s availability, but nothing has come to fruition so far.
“They have taken calls on him, it is not like there is no one in the league who is interested in him. It’s just a matter of, the Knicks seeing him as a guy who is a star and they want a star return for him. But the rest of the league is thinking, ‘OK, we’ll do you a favor and take his contract, how does that sound?’” The source explained.
As such, it does seem that any trade for Randle is going to be difficult to come by and that the Knicks might have to start finding ways to ensure he remains an impactful part of their rotation heading into next season.
Knicks Won’t Trade RJ Barrett
Despite the Knicks being linked in numerous trade rumors over the past weeks – all of which are centered around Donovan Mitchell, it would appear they have made the decision to remove RJ Barrett from all trade discussions.
“R.J. is extension-eligible. That is a tough position. He might want max money or something close to it. He is not going to get it. It’s a tough negotiation for the Knicks with that because you have to commit to $30 million per year for a guy who is very good as a scorer and has potential but has not shown he is an elite player, really. There is interest in R.J. but no one wants to trade for him, then take on the job of negotiating with him. Let the Knicks do that,” An Eastern Conference executive told Heavy.com’s, Sean Deveney.
So, if Barrett isn’t an option in trade discussions, and there isn’t a realistic market for Randle, the Knicks will need to get creative if they want to convince the Jazz to part ways with their star guard – of course, that will probably mean throwing a mountain of draft picks there way, while players such as Quentin Grimes and Obi Toppin could also be used as makeweights.
But if we’re being honest, Randle might have to be included in the deal to make the money work, and maybe that’s the best chance the Knicks, and Randle, have at making a clean break before the new season gets underway.