Reports have been floating around the media over the past several days that the New York Knicks could look to trade former All-Star power forward Julius Randle, but when asked about the truth, Randle shut down the idea quickly.
Randle asked media members, “who reported it?” To his credit, nobody could offer a genuine source of where the information came from, with one member throwing out Ian Begley’s name from SNY.
However, Randle stayed calm, trying to defuse the question and rumors without getting overly aggressive.
Julius Randle when asked about his name allegedly being mentioned in trade talks
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) February 5, 2022
Randle has been a shell of his former self the season, averaging 18.5 points, 5.1 assists, and 9.9 rebounds per game. While his physical presence remains stout, his scoring production has fallen off a cliff this year, shooting a measly 30% from deep compared to over 40% in 2020-21.
The Knicks have relied on Randle to be their primary facilitator without a true player guard. Rumors have indicated that the Knicks could look to the Sacramento Kings and De’Aaron Fox as a potential trade target. Swapping big contracts makes logical sense.
However, it still seems as if head coach Tom Thibodeau is committed to Randle, who helped extract his best self last year, winning the NBA’s Most Improved Player award.
With Randle taking such a big step in the wrong direction, though, it was only a matter of time before trade rumors began to circle. However, Julius shutting down any rumors could just be to protect his mentality and commitment to the team. Behind the scenes, anything is possible, especially with a Knicks desperately in need of a long-term solution at point guard.
If you want to take a look at a similar situation, turn your attention to Brooklyn, where James Harden stated he was happy in Brooklyn but is now the centerpiece of a potential trade to Philadelphia. We’ve seen surprise blockbuster trades in the past, and if the Knicks want to hit reset and focus on their young talent, unloading big contracts makes sense.