The Knicks may want to find a taker for Julius Randle, but they haven’t been willing to part with any first-round picks in a potential trade, Fred Katz of The Athletic writes in his latest mailbag column.
Randle is about to enter the first season of the four-year, $117MM extension that he signed after receiving second-team All-NBA honors in 2020/21. That price tag makes it difficult to move him without some other assets attached. Randle is also coming off a disappointing season that featured not only a decline in production, but frequent battles with fans and the media. Katz notes that Randle finished last in effective field goal percentage last season among 112 players rated by Basketball-Reference, and the Knicks were worse by nearly 10 points per 100 possessions when he was on the court.
However, Katz believes Randle’s production was affected by the rest of the roster. Katz says New York had the worst point guard play late in the season of any team that wasn’t trying to tank, and the addition of Jalen Brunson, and possibly Donovan Mitchell, should have a positive effect on Randle.
There’s more from New York:
- Former Knicks assistant Kenny Payne, now the head coach at Louisville, is credited with helping Randle become a star, but he may have been sending counterproductive messages last season, a source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. While head coach Tom Thibodeau wanted Randle to share the ball more often, Payne was allegedly pumping up Randle’s ego and telling him he was still “the man.” Berman speculates that Randle would benefit from a deal for Mitchell, especially if the price includes Obi Toppin, whom Knicks fans often chanted for when Randle was on the court, and Evan Fournier, whom Randle clashed with in their first season as teammates.
- The Knicks need to be careful that they don’t overpay Utah for Mitchell, argues Steve Popper of Newsday. He notes that although several other teams have expressed interest in Mitchell, nobody has been willing to meet Danny Ainge‘s asking price. Popper points out that the Knicks’ backcourt is already better than it was last season through the addition of Brunson and the return of Derrick Rose.
- Carmelo Anthony has interest in returning to New York, where he played from 2011 to 2017, Jake Fischer said on his “Please Don’t Aggregate This” podcast. However, Fischer adds that the Knicks may not share Anthony’s desire for a reunion.