Sunday, May 29 2022
Julius Randle treated image, black jersey with two of him layered on top of MSG background

Many who follow basketball expected Julius Randle, coming off a breakout All-NBA season with the Knicks, to regress somewhat after such an outstanding year. Though they were right, nobody could have anticipated to what degree.

Randle has been a mess this season. His defensive energy and sharpness disappear for stretches at a time, while the knockdown shooting that elevated him last season is all but gone.

The confidence and poise he displayed has been replaced with tentativeness and shrugged shoulders. He’s beefed with the fans and the media, two notoriously difficult parties to please at Madison Square Garden, though he managed to up until this season.

It’s natural then for some to call for a Randle trade. This Knicks team has a slew of under-25 prospects who look to be bigger pieces of the franchise’s future than Randle, and moving him to make way for a refresh around them is an attractive notion.

Here’s why the Knicks shouldn’t do it…

For one, the exterior view likely wouldn’t be what New York wants to portray. Dealing someone heralded as the franchise savior mere months ago, after signing him to an extension even sooner, isn’t in tune with the culture-building this team is trying to cultivate. Potential free agents or trade targets are sure to notice.

As the best player on the team, that culture materially falls into Randle’s hands. So should he continue to bring poor defensive effort and general energy, a trade would be necessary. However, we’re just past the midway point of this season, with plenty of time to see some of the old Randle return.

A move like this would be reactionary, to say the least. Randle may never be 2021 Randle again, but this season and his first with the Knicks form what to expect out of his worst seasons. It’s fair to assume most years from him will fall somewhere in between.

If that’s the case, Randle is fine where he is. He was never going to be the alpha on a championship team, but the Knicks didn’t sign him to be.

Randle’s contract extension falls in such a range, with a $19 million average salary including his All-Star roster, postseason, and All-NBA Defensive Team incentives, which won’t have a 100 percent hit rate. Think Kyle Lowry or Andrew Wiggins, not the mid-30s or 40s earners like Ben Simmons.

That contract is far from unreasonable, easily allowing for a true No. 1 to join the roster and form a trio with Randle and RJ Barrett. Even if that vision doesn’t come to pass, trading him now would be doing so at the lowest point of his Knicks tenure, assuring they’d get little in return.

If a team offers up a super intriguing young player, a veteran who can contribute, and multiple picks — or some other mind-blowing package — the Knicks would have to entertain it. But looking for salary dumps when there’s plenty more to expect from Randle is premature.

Some of Randle’s improvements are still intact, namely his passing. He’s had individual nights that look reminiscent of 2020-21, though they’re few and far between. When he has the space and determination to attack the paint, he’s still unstoppable.

Making way for your young core to begin assuming leadership makes sense. There are better means of accomplishing this, though.

Barrett’s already seen his usage spike as Randle increasingly defers to his creation. There’s exactly one player losing playing time to Randle: Obi Toppin, who would see more center minutes under any other head coach in the league. Trading someone out of the clogged guard/wing rotation makes much more sense.

Randle said he wants to retire a Knick. Maybe that means nothing in a business context, or because dozens of Knicks with meaningless tenures said the same. But a half-year of bad basketball shouldn’t mean abandoning hope and commitment to someone like that.

Source: Yahoo Sports

Previous

Players, coaches welcome NHL’s latest COVID-19 protocols

Next

Nets' skid continues as Brooklyn drops sixth straight game in loss to Kings

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

Pro Sports Media

Trending Now

Reds’ Pham suspended 3 games for slapping Giants’ Pederson

San Francisco Giants outfielder Joc Pederson said Cincinnati Reds outfielder Tommy Pham slapped him prior to Friday’s series opener over a dispute about their fantasy football league. While the Giants warmed up in the outfield, Pham confronted Pederson and smacked him in the face before the players were separated. Pham said Saturday that he had […]

Read More

Reds’ Pham slaps Giants’ Pederson over fantasy football beef

San Francisco Giants outfielder Joc Pederson said Cincinnati Reds outfielder Tommy Pham slapped him prior to Friday’s series opener over a dispute about their fantasy football league. While the Giants warmed up in the outfield, Pham confronted Pederson and smacked him in the face before the pair was separated. Major League Baseball is investigating, and […]

Read More

Chelsea takeover imminent after final agreement reached

LONDON (AP) — The sale of Premier League club Chelsea is expected to be completed Monday after a “final and definitive” agreement was reached with the consortium fronted by Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly. The club said Saturday that “a final and definitive agreement was entered into last night” to sell to the Boehly […]

Read More