In the month of January, Knicks‘ third-year guard RJ Barrett is averaging 22.5 points per game, 3.4 assists, and 6.3 rebounds. He’s also shooting 43.7% from three-point range. Barrett has completely taken over the No. 1 scoring job for New York, leaving Julius Randle in his dust, as the veteran forward records 17 points and is shooting 24.6% from range to start the new year.
This season, Randle has been a shell of his former self, averaging 18.7 points per game, five fewer than his All-Star campaign last year. Clearly, his confidence is shot, and the media is turning on him, resulting in a lack of motivation and care.
The Knicks are stuck in a strange situation, having extended him on a four-year, $117 million deal that doesn’t kick in until next season.
However, Randle is still a productive player that could reach his full potential alongside a superstar if a team was willing to trade for him. Randle’s extension isn’t a crazy contract, earning under $30 million for the majority of the four years.
With the trade deadline coming up, it is possible the front office considers Randle a bargaining chip for a more prominent name, especially with the team struggling and unlikely to make a push in the postseason with Julius regressing significantly.
According to Ian Begley of SNY, Julius Randle could be traded for the “right return”:
It’s worth noting that one team in touch with a member of the organization recently is under the impression that Julius Randle would be available for the right return.
Begley writes that the Knicks have been intrigued by players like Jaylen Brunson and Myles Turner. Other names on the market will attract their attention, but New York doesn’t have a ton of capital to part ways with after acquiring Cam Reddish for a first-round pick next year via Charlotte.
Nonetheless, there is no straightforward fix to the Knicks’ issues, but getting rid of Randle’s massive contract might be a step in the right direction if they can land another big name that fits the teams mold more efficiently.