Ridiculous Knicks mock trade proposal undermines Julius Randle’s value

Nov 25, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) controls the ball against Portland Trail Blazers forward Jerami Grant (9) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks offseason is still in its early stages, yet the firestorm of trade rumors has already begun. While the Knicks are expected to be aggressive this offseason following their best season in decades, the latest mock trade proposal may have many Knicks fans scratching their heads.

NBA Writer proposes Knicks trade for two-way Trailblazers wing

Portland Trail Blazers forward Jerami Grant (9) drives past New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) for a layup in the second quarter at Madison Square Garden
Jan 9, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Portland Trail Blazers forward Jerami Grant (9) drives past New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) for a layup in the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Writer Michael Saenz of Sir Charles In Charge recently proposed a series of mock trades that the Knicks could potentially pull the trigger on this offseason, one of which is rather puzzling, to say the least.

In his mock scenario, Saenz has the Knicks striking a deal for Portland Trailblazers F Jerami Grant. The full mock trade is as follows:

Knicks receive: F Jerami Grant

Trailblazers receive: F Julius Randle, 2024 first-round pick, 2025 first-round pick, 2027 first-round pick

Grant is severely overvalued in this scenario, making the Knicks losers of the mock trade

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Memphis Grizzlies
Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

While Jerami Grant is a good player in his own right, averaging 21 PPG on 45% FG last season, and the idea of him and OG Anunoby in the frontcourt could give the Knicks a very solid two-way presence, the Knicks would be massive losers in this trade scenario. Not only would the Knicks be parting ways with a whopping three first-round picks, but they would also be parting with a franchise cornerstone in Julius Randle, who has helped turn the franchise around during his Knicks tenure.

The Knicks’ front office has been notorious for getting the best bang for their buck

It should be noted that this past season, the Knicks were able to acquire OG Anunoby, one of the league’s premier two-way wings, without giving up a single first-round pick. Given this, trading three first-round picks, and getting none in return, for a player who arguably makes the Knicks worse would be managerial malpractice.

Trading away the Knicks cornerstone makes little sense in this scenario

Mar 29, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) controls the ball against Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 29, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) controls the ball against Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

If trading a heavy chunk of the Knicks draft capital wasn’t bad enough in this scenario, Julius Randle, a three-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA player, would also be sent to Portland. While Randle has been subject to criticism throughout his Knicks tenure, there is no denying his impact on the organization.

The Knicks have made the playoffs in three of the last four seasons in large part due to Randle’s efforts. In five seasons total with the Knicks, Randle has averaged 22.6 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game, consistently one of the best players at his position year in, and year out.

This past season, it was clear that the Knicks weren’t the same team after Randle’s shoulder injury ended his season. In the regular season, the Knicks were 21-15 without him. While still a good team even without him, Randle’s availability would’ve given the Knicks a chance to go a step further, and potentially reach the NBA Finals instead of being bounced out of the playoffs in the second round for the second year in a row.

Randle has one of the league’s best-value contracts compared to Grant

Additionally, from a financial standpoint, it is hard to justify trading Randle, who currently has two years, and $58 million left on his contract, for Jerami Grant, who has four years, and $133 million left on his. Randle’s contract is one of the league’s best values, costing the Knicks less than $30 million per year for All-NBA level production. On the other hand, Grant has never even made an All-Star team in his NBA career but is being paid as if he has. Simply put, Randle is an All-Star, one of the league’s top players, while Grant is nothing more than a very good role player.

While Randle can be a polarizing player, his value around the league, and in the eyes of many fans has been severely undermined because of his reputation, which has been unfairly given to him. Randle is one the best players in the NBA, and shouldn’t be traded along with a hefty amount of first-round picks unless there is a clear upgrade available.

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