The 2019-20 Season is over for the New York Knicks. Finishing the league with a 21-45 record, the Knicks were among the 8 teams not invited for the NBA restart. The focus of the Knicks is building a new team under their new top management.
One decision remains that the Knicks are open to trading Julius Randle. Randle is on a 3-year, $62 million contract which expires after the 2021-22 season. However, the dynamics of his play, especially with RJ Barrett, make him ill-suited for the Knicks moving forward.
The Knicks are now open to trading Randle as they start preparing for the 2020-21 season.
Randle was a part of the Lakers for 4 seasons, being drafted 7th overall in the 2014 draft. During his time with the Lakers, his production was average at best. In the 2018 Free Agency period, he signed a contract with the New Orleans Pelicans.
His lone season with the Pelicans saw him average a healthy 21.4 points, 8.7 rebounds per game on 52.4% shooting. He remained fairly efficient from 3-point range that season, making over 34% of his attempted three-pointers.
Missing out on key free agency targets and needing to upgrade their roster, The New York Knicks signed Randle in the 2019 Free Agency, for a 3-year deal. As it stands, he’s the only member on the Roster with a contract till the 2021-22 season without options. Only a partial amount due in 2021-22 is guaranteed.
Statistically, Randle had a strong season with the New York Knicks. Averaging a near double-double with 19.5 points and 9.7 rebounds a game. Unfortunately, his 3-point shooting and floor spacing took a hit, with the forward just shooting 27% of his three-pointers.
Despite being the teams leading scorer, Randle has his shortcomings. Defensively he’s been a liability and is not able to space the floor well. The team require a stretch 4, who can space the floor and shoot the three-point shot, something Randle hasn’t been able to do.
Also, the Knicks offense runs through Randle, and his ball-dominant style of play is not sitting too well with other teammates. With RJ Barrett also possessing a ball-dominant style of play and unable to space the floor, the Knicks have struggled offensively.
With the Knicks wanting to keep RJ Barrett as part of their future plans, there are questions about Randle’s long-term fit with the team.
Randle has been involved in trade talks between the New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets in February. Ultimately, nothing materialized as Randle stayed with the Knicks. It’s highly unlikely that the Knicks will be able to ship Randle for some assets, given his style of play. The coronavirus pandemic is expected to hit the Salary cap, further elevating the difficulty of a trade. However, his salary of $18.9 million for the next season isn’t bad.
Randle can still be an effective piece for any NBA team, but is not a talent that teams would centre their core around. To increase his own market value, he will need to improve on his defensive prowess and floor spacing abilities.
For the Knicks, their roster is resplendent with options. The team, now under President of Basketball Operations Leon Rose, will probably target the rich 2021 Free Agency class. It’s likely they might want to retain Randle till the middle of the 2020-21 season, before looking to trade him with more clarity on the salary cap and assets that could be acquired from other teams.
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