Guess it’s safe to say that nothing has gone right for the New York Knicks this season. Following an offseason in which the Knicks fell flat on their face regarding big-name free agents, they settled for mid-tier players instead. The Knicks’ front office whiffed on Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and walked away with Julius Randle, Marcus Morris, Bobby Portis, Elfrid Payton, and Taj Gibson. How did Scott Perry think this was the foundation of a winner?
Now, with the Knicks in clear struggle mode and the NBA trade deadline two months away, fans and analysts are wondering who could be on the trade block for the Knicks? The early reports are that Marcus Morris is the easy choice due to his expiring contract and great play this year but there have been some whispers that Randle could also be moved according to Bleacher Report. But why?
Trading Randle will prove that the Knicks’ front office has completely lost their mind. For starters, Randle is young (25 years old) and still has the ceiling to become the face of the Knicks’ franchise. For the year, he’s averaging 17.8 points and 8.6 rebounds while shooting .445 percent from the floor. His numbers are down from last season with the New Orleans Pelicans but a lot of that has to do with the coaching of recently fired David Fizdale.
Moving Randle only seems logical if the Knicks are trying to create cap space. This past offseason, the Knicks signed Randle to a three-year deal worth $61M. Moving him would get a good return of quality players or a few drafts picks but wouldn’t that further derail their plans of contending with top teams and challenging the Brooklyn Nets for basketball supremacy in NYC?
Even if they have the cap space there’s still no guarantee they will snag any of the top free agents this offseason. Isn’t this similar to what happened this past summer? So, why would they put their future on hold yet again for uncertainty? By drafting RJ Barrett, the Knicks could at least head into the 2020 season with an outside/inside duo and look to build from there.
With their struggles, they’re guaranteed to be a Lottery team again which if done correctly, should garner them a real PG or SF to go with their two building blocks. But letting Randle go does nothing as the Knicks will hope the players or picks they get in return will amount to something. That’s a tall wish order to fill nowadays. Randle is loyal and he wants to win. No on or off-the-court issues for Randle as his main concern is balling.
What the New York Knicks must think about if they were to make a move of this magnitude is–image. How will other players view their organization if they were to give up on Julius Randle not even a full year into his deal? This is the same team that has a cloud of mystery over them dating back to the infamous Charles Oakley and James Dolan incident. And how can we forget their mistreatment of Carmelo Anthony and the same team who gave up on Kristaps Porzingis? Now is the time to show that they’re moving in another direction.
The rebuild starts with Randle. Even with Morris having a great year, Randle is still the best player on the Knicks. Trading him away may save some dollars but does it stop the losing?