After missing out on Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, during the 2019 free agency period, the New York Knicks settled for Julius Randle on a 3yr/62.1 million dollar contract. So far, his time with the Knicks has been up and down. With there being rumors of the Knicks moving Randle, let’s take a look at what has transpired these few years.
Julius Randle: Year 1
Julius Randle’s first year in New York wasn’t amazing. Some people hated him right off the bat, some said he wasn’t as bad as advertised. Personally, I was on the spectrum that he wasn’t as bad as people said, but definitely shouldn’t be a #1 option on a team. Randle averaged 19.5pts, 9.7reb, and 3.1ast. His main issue was perimeter shooting. He shot 46% from the field overall, but just 27.7% from three. He also averaged 3 turnovers a game, and some of those were awful.
This season showed that the then 25-year-old Randle had talent, but a lot to approve upon. It is tough to bash a guy who averaged 19/7/3 every game, but there were glaring issues in his game. Randle was definitely a piece for the Knicks, but there were questions on how big of a role he should get, and if he was a long-term answer.
Julius Randle: Year 2
The Knicks got everything they wanted out of Julius Randle in his 2nd year with the team. Randle showed that he could be a #1 option for the Knicks, as he had the best season of his career. Randle made improvements to his shooting, and it did wonders for him. He put up 24.1pts on 45.6% shooting and 41.1% from behind the arc. Not to mention his 10.2reb and his 6ast a night. Randle led an on paper weaker Knicks team to a 41-31 record, finishing 4th in the East.
Randle was a non-factor in the playoffs, however. The Knicks were sent home after 5 games against the Hawks. However, this didn’t take much away from Randle in the eyes of Knicks fans. It also didn’t in the eyes of management. Randle earned himself a 4yr/117 million dollar extension. Unfortunately, this didn’t make much sense at all. Randle still had a full year on his deal and only showed he could be that type of player for 1 season. After coming off a bad playoff performance, the Knicks should’ve really waited for the season to get going to make that type of decision. It would’ve been much easier to move him if the Knicks needed to, and that is showing right now.
Julius Randle: Year 3
Year 3 has felt a lot like year 1, but worse. It’s not so much his play on the court, but it is the outside stuff. The fans have hated him, and Randle has not portrayed himself well. It also doesn’t help that the Knicks are 24-31. Randle’s game averages have dropped off from last year. He is putting up 19.1pts, 9.9reb, and 5.1ast. His shooting has again taken a hit. He is down to 42% overall and 31% from three. His turnovers are also up to 3.5 a game.
Randle has engaged in negative actions with fans and coaches this year. He often looks like he doesn’t want to be there. He is lackadaisical on defense. he is often sitting away from the team on the bench. All of these things have led to the possibility of him being traded. There are reportedly a few teams interested, and the Knicks would trade him at the right price. However, it is tough for me to see a possibility out there for the Knicks and another team right now involving Randle.
Where From Here
If he gets traded, then that will end this discussion. If he stays, then there clearly needs to be better options around Randle. They tried that by bringing in Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier, but it hasn’t worked out. Once RJ Barrett’s shot improves, he is going to be legit. He has been playing really well this last month or so, hopefully, he will continue to improve. I am not one of these “Randle lovers”, but I think there are better moves for the Knicks to make. I am not saying don’t trade him, but moving Fournier and replacing him with someone else and getting a star point guard makes more sense. If a good opportunity opens up, I would take it and move Randle. But if you improve what is around him and make him more of 2nd/3rd option, it can lead the Knicks to be good again. If the Knicks are good, not many people will be focused on Julius Randle.