Knicks’ All-NBA forward ‘ahead of schedule’ as potential trade looms

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) and guard Jalen Brunson (11) react to a play against the Utah Jazz during the third quarter at Delta Center

The New York Knicks are preparing for an exciting off-season that may include several significant moves. There is widespread speculation about the future of All-NBA forward Julius Randle, especially after a season that saw him undergo surgery due to a dislocated shoulder during the second half of the year.

Randle’s Recovery and Future With the Knicks

Fortunately, Randle’s rehabilitation progress is going smoothly, and while it will take some time for him to return to full speed, he is ahead of the curve.

“I’m good, bro. … I’m good, I’m healthy,” Randle said on “7PM in Brooklyn” with hosts Carmelo Anthony and Kid Mero. “I’m getting there. It’s a process. It’s something that’s going to take a long time. I knew that going into it. But I’m ahead of schedule, I’m feeling good. I’m healthy. I’ll be ready when the season starts.”

The Knicks deeply felt the absence of Randle’s physicality and defensive presence during the postseason, relying heavily on Jalen Brunson to outscore opponents. However, after the injuries to OG Anunoby and Mitchell Robinson, the Knicks struggled against a much deeper Indiana Pacers team.

Despite these challenges, Randle had a solid regular season before his injury, averaging 24 points, 9.2 rebounds, five assists, and a .472 shooting percentage from the field. Although his three-point percentage dropped to .311, he maintained a solid overall shooting performance and used his physicality effectively to reach the basket.

Dec 7, 2022; New York, New York, USA;   New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) dribbles the ball defended by Atlanta Hawks guard Jarrett Culver (7) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Contractual Considerations and Team Dynamics

This upcoming season, Randle will enter the third year of a four-year, $117 million deal. At 30 years old, he will have a $29 million cap hit and a $30.1 million cap hit for the 2025-26 season, which includes a player option.

Given the current market, Randle’s contract is relatively economical, especially when compared to players like Anunoby, who is expected to secure a contract worth at least $35 million per season. Randle could arguably be considered a better player.

Front Office Strategies: Stability vs. Change

The Knicks’ front office faces a decision: they could choose to trade Randle and his contract in favor of younger talent, or they might opt to maintain the current roster. The team demonstrated excellent chemistry during the regular season and likely would have made a significant playoff push had they remained healthy. President Leon Rose might view preserving the team’s core as a preferable strategy rather than pursuing major changes and heading in a new direction.

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