With several key players not reaching the heights many expected, there are reports that the Knicks could trade Julius Randle, who was the NBA's Most Improved Player of the Year last season.
With 16 games remaining, the Knicks (28-38) are 12th in the Eastern Conference, 3.5 games behind 10th place and a spot in the play-in tournament. Fans had high hopes for the Knicks entering the season, but they have failed to deliver the goods.
On the latest episode of the "HoopsHype" podcast, Michael Sotto and Knicks beat writer Stefan Bondy discussed the state of the Knicks and the future of their star players. Sotto talked about how Randle's name popped up in trade conversations during the trade deadline and asked if there is a chance he might be traded during the summer. In response, Bondy said:
"Yeah, I think there’s a possibility, but I will caution that any talk of Randle getting traded at the deadline, I think there wasn’t much to it. There might have been some calls here and there, but nothing ever got serious at all.
"I think the Knicks are smart enough to understand why would they trade this guy at his lowest point when we wouldn’t get much back for him?
"You mentioned the extension. It’s not a max contract, so it’s not like he’s going to start making $30 million off the bat next season. It’s still a very reasonable contract in terms of today’s NBA and when you look at these insane numbers being thrown around for players who don’t produce as much as Randle.
"I still think he’s an asset. I think he’s going to have nights like he had in Sacramento. You hope next season will be different."
Given how their season has gone, the franchise might consider a different approach, and Randle is undoubtedly one of their most valuable players right now. However, a trade at this point might be unwise.
Julius Randle has not been dependable for the New York Knicks this season
Julius Randle took a major leap in his career last season, averaging career-high numbers across most of the statistical categories. However, his performances have taken a significant dip this season.
The big man has struggled to get in his shooting rhythm, shooting 41.9%, including a dismal 31.2% from beyond the arc. Last season, Randle shot 41% from deep on 5.5 attempts per game.
Meanwhile, Randle is showing he's still got it, averaging 27.3 points in the Knicks' last three games, which ended in victories. The Kentucky product put together a monster performance against the Sacramento Kings on Monday night with a season-high 46 points.
If the Knicks successfully maintain their winning streak (winning three games after a 2-14 stretch), they might end up with a play-in spot. To achieve that, Randle will have to deliver awe-inspiring performances regularly.