Truth Bomb Dropped on Knicks Star’s Upcoming Campaign

Julius Randle, New York Knicks

Getty Julius Randle of the New York Knicks against the Indiana Pacers.

The New York Knicks are coming into the 2022-23 season with hopes of experiencing far more triumphs and success stories than they did during their sub-.500 2021-22 run.

Due to their bevy of offseason transactions such as the re-signing of Mitchell Robinson and the free agency snatch-up of Jalen Brunson, Leon Rose and company have bolstered the team’s talent pool quite nicely which should help aid in their efforts to compete for playoff contention.

However, though it will take an entire team effort for the Knicks to achieve their ultimate goals during this upcoming season, easily the most influential factor will be the production level of their star forward, Julius Randle.

After nabbing the first All-Star nod and All-NBA selection of his career back during their Cinderella-story 2020-21 campaign, New York gave the proverbial “keys to the kingdom” to the big man, rewarding him with a lofty four-year, $117 million extension as well as the moniker of franchise centerpiece.

With this, heading into the following year expectations were rather high for both Randle and the Knickerbockers to build off of their electric 41-win crusade.

Unfortunately, things did not go as planned for either as the power forward regressed in virtually every statistical category while, as a direct result, the Knicks won a mere 37 games and finished in the 11 seed out in the Eastern Conference.

This downward spiral turned a once jubilant situation into a real catastrophe and, because of this, consistent rumblings have surfaced over the past several months suggesting that the two parties could be heading towards a split.

Despite these reports, be it by design or failure to find a trade partner, at this point in time it appears that the Knicks will be heading into the upcoming season with Randle serving as their lead guy.

And while some may be optimistic that the 27-year-old can return to his 2021 form, should his play from last year roll on through to this one Bleacher Report writer Zach Buckley believes it would warrant the classification of being an overall failure.

“It’s possible the Knicks discovered it would be too tough to trade Randle and are trying to make the best of a tricky situation. Or they genuinely believe he can bounce back and play a featured role in their recovery. Either way, they’ll be counting on him to deliver a huge campaign, and anything resembling a repeat of last season’s struggles will be a colossal disappointment.

Despite leading the team in both points (20.1) and rebounds (9.9) last year, Randle’s efficiency, particularly on offense, was rather poor as he ranked 11th and 13th in field goal percentage (.411) and three-point percentage (.308) despite attempting the first and third most shots, respectively, in both categories.

Knicks Refuse to Include Picks in Randle Talks

As mentioned, the New York Knicks are open to the idea of trading Julius Randle. The problem is, however, due to his lackluster 2021-22 campaign, interested teams aren’t all that open to executing a blockbuster one would typically see when involving a recent All-NBA selectee.

In fact, per an August 25 report by The Athletic’s Fred Katz, it’s been insinuated that inquiring ball clubs have broached the subject of seeing draft capital being attached to the big man in a hypothetical deal.

The Knicks don’t appear to be willing to adhere to these desires.

“If I tuned out of NBA news for a month, returned to learn that the Knicks had traded Randle and had to guess what the trade was, I’d assume they swapped him for another expensive contract — a milder version of all these supermax-for-supermax trades we’ve seen over the past few years,” Katz said.

“The four remaining seasons on Randle’s deal have made teams, even ones who believe last season wasn’t representative of who he is, hesitant about acquiring him. The Knicks, meanwhile, haven’t been willing to attach a first-rounder or two to send him elsewhere.”

Phoenix Could Be a Randle Landing Spot

Recently, 98.7 FM Phoenix radio host John Gambadoro tweeted that the Suns are interested in upgrading their power forward position, specifically when it comes to adding a talent who can feast down in the post.

Though Julius Randle is certainly not someone who should be classified as a predominant “post-up” player, considering his menacing six-foot-eight, 249-pound frame coupled with his sound scoring touch and impressive handles for someone of his size, one could make the argument that he has the potential to serve as a true upgrade for this championship-aspiring team’s frontcourt rotation.

At the moment, many Phoenix-based platforms are contemplating the idea of such an addition.

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