Although the New York Knicks had only acquired Julius Randle during this year’s free agency season, it looks like the organization is already considering trading the 25-year-old power forward as they continue to languish near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.
In a report published early on Monday morning, Newsday’s Steve Popper looked at the Knicks’ 111-105 loss to the Denver Nuggets, which saw New York come back from a 20-point deficit and take the lead midway through the fourth quarter, only to fall short in the end. As Popper noted, the Knicks recently fired head coach David Fizdale and installed Mike Miller as an interim replacement, but the organization might soon consider shaking up its roster, especially since newly-signed free agents became eligible to be traded as of Sunday. This includes Randle, who was one of four power forwards signed by New York in the 2019 offseason, along with Marcus Morris, Bobby Portis, and Taj Gibson.
While Popper wrote that Morris is the free-agent signee from the past summer who has stood out so far as the “most attractive” trade target, he cited an unnamed league source, noting that the Knicks are apparently “open” to orchestrating a trade that would involve Randle. This, as further explained, is despite the three-year, $62.1 million contract he signed earlier this year after one year with the New Orleans Pelicans and four years with the Los Angeles Lakers.
After averaging a career-high 21.6 points per game for the Pelicans, Randle has seen his numbers take a bit of a tumble in the 2019-20 season. Per his Basketball-Reference player page, the sixth-year forward is averaging 17.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 3.4 assists for New York as of his first 27 games in the current campaign. His shooting, meanwhile, has declined substantially, dropping from 52.4 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from three-point range in 2018-19 to 44.5 percent and 26.5 percent in 2019-20.
Nice over the shoulder pass here by Frank Ntilikina. Good find to set up Julius Randle for the layup. pic.twitter.com/Iwy4lVxTL8
— Mike Vorkunov (@MikeVorkunov) December 18, 2019
According to a separate report from ClutchPoints, it’s still “tough” to determine whether Randle will entertain the idea of being traded to another team without even getting to complete one full season with the Knicks. The publication pointed out that the former University of Kentucky star has yet to play for a winning team in his NBA career, which may or may not play a factor if other teams show interest in him prior to the February trade deadline.
“If the right offer comes along, the Knicks would be smart to take it, given the shortcomings with this power forward logjam, now a third of the way through the season,” ClutchPoints added.