Is Julius Randle the future or a trade piece?

With the March 25th Trade deadline looming, the Knicks have a big decision ahead. Do they trade first time All Star Julius Randle, or do they build around him?

Reasons to Keep:

One of the simplest reasons to keep Julius Randle is because he’s the best player.  Julius Randle is also the leader of this team. There are many reasons why the Knicks are doing better this year compared to last, Randle is at the top of that list. This is his best statistical season, and was recently an All Star. Since arriving in New York last season, Randle has had his best two efficient shooting percentage seasons, and this year is a career high .538. Another key stat for Randle is his 4.5 win shares, which is eleventh in the NBA. All of the things Julius Randle didn’t do last year, he’s doing at a high level this year.

Last season when you’d watch the Knicks and Julius Randle, it was a painful few hours. Randle would force shots, make bad decisions and seemed out of it. Even weeks before the season, I had said I wanted Obi Toppin in there instead of Randle. I was wrong, and Randle proved why. Randle’s shot selection has vastly improved, and his court awareness has done a 180. On offense, the former Kentucky Wildcat has shouldered most of the load. Learning from last season, Randle has been a key facilitator. In half the time, Randle has seven more assists this season over last year.

The overhaul of the Knicks was done with Randle in mind, and he hasn’t let anybody down. Tom Thibodeau has said, Randle is a big piece to this team. The rebirth of Randle is what this team needed, and could potentially propel the Knicks into the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

Reasons to Trade:

Almost all the reasons I just listed to keep Julius Randle, could be used to say why the Knicks should trade him. Look at what the Knicks did with Marcus Morris last season. They flipped an expiring contract into a first round pick, which was Immanuel Quickley. If the Knicks were to trade their All Star, it’d likely be for more than just one first round pick. Given Randle’s age and one year left on his deal, that’s not terrible for a contending team. For the Knicks, Julius Randle’s trade value is at an all time high. Yes it’s possible Randle makes more All Star games, but that’s not certain.

The Knicks are in an interesting spot. They’re a few pieces away from being contenders, but given their success in 2020-2021 the Knicks don’t appear to be in a total rebuild. If Leon Rose doesn’t think Randle can help add wins, maybe he does ship him off to a contender for a load of picks. Many contending teams need big men, Randle is that. Randle is also an above average three point shooter. He could help many teams.

Randle will also be due eighteen million next year. If the Knicks were to resign Randle, it’ll likely be for more than that. That could mean the Knicks want to get rid of him now just to speed up the inevitable. If you don’t want to pay him, trade him while he’s under contract fpr a full year after, that way you’ll be able to get a little more.

Verdict:

The Knicks won’t trade Julius Randle. He’s the best player they’ve had since Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony. What Julius Randle has brought to The Garden and the Knicks in 2021 is infectious, and he’s a big piece of the future to me. Julius Randle is the heartbeat and leader of this team, and without him this season doesn’t happen. Unless the Knicks lose every game in the second half, he’ll be back next year then hopefully resigns after next season. For the first time in forever the Knicks are trending upward, and Randle is one of the main keys to that.

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