Julius Randle shoots against Pacers
Julius Randle has been the star of this hot Knicks start, putting up huge numbers and reconstructing both his game and body in 2020-21. Safe to say they would not be 5-4 without Randle’s 22.6 points, 12.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game and improved defense.
After last year’s underwhelming campaign of empty stats, his name appeared in trade rumors and it looked as if his future in the blue and orange was in question. Now, his play warrants an extension or major trade offer from another team. Here’s why the Knicks should be focusing on the former rather than shopping him.
To put his performance thus far in context, fewer than ten players have put up his averages over an entire season, and his four 25-point 10-rebound nights are the most in the Knicks’ first eight games since Patrick Ewing in 1990-91, per ESPN Stats & info.
This isn’t to say the Knicks shouldn’t do their due diligence. It’s hard to see teams not being interested in Randle the way he’s playing thus far. He could raise the floor of any team he joins and work perfectly as a better scoring Draymond Green-lite glue guy on a contender.
Charlotte is close to starting LaMelo Ball, which would make Terry Rozier expendable. Such a swap has been rumored for some time, but looks far less attractive now.
Minnesota desperately needs a power forward, but unless they’re willing to include Anthony Edwards there’s little of interest there. Ricky Rubio and Jarrett Culver won’t do the trick.
A Gary Harris-centered package from the Nuggets, who are off to a sluggish start and are missing the impact Jerami Grant brought to the four spot, doesn’t sound attractive. The Blazers aren’t giving up CJ McCollum for Randle and Phoenix won’t want to mess with their strong start.
This is all fine, since the Knicks shouldn’t be actively shopping Randle anyway. Hear out offers, and only think about accepting one if it’s the level of thievery as the Mets getting Francisco Lindor. Short of a mega-star or future mega-star and picks, New York should be honing in on securing Randle for the long-term should he keep up this level of play.
The reasons are plentiful. New York hasn’t had a young star of this caliber since Kristaps Porzingis, and before then you’d have to flip into a past millennium. Remember Randle is still just 26 years old, and has a team option for next year at just under $20 million. If his yearly development is half of what it was this past offseason, he’s on his way to becoming special.
Randle’s commitment to defense and playmaking, should it stick, are rare attributes that separate him from other rising talents, and not only make him a better teammate but an attractive one to upcoming free agents. He’s become a guy that is making plays without the ball, so bringing in additional starpower should be seamless, unlike with more high-maintenance players.
Once upon a time the Randle signing was a flier on a young guy that came with big numbers but bigger questions. We’ve now had a small sample size of what he looks like under a competent coaching staff and winning culture, which has flipped the perception of him 180 degrees.
This franchise has collected asset after asset in anticipation of the perfect trade piece or franchise cornerstone. If this start holds true, the Knicks can feel secure knowing they’ve found one, and committing to him long-term is the best step forward.
Published: 2021-01-11 14:55:53
Tags: #Julius #Randle #making #hot #commodity #heres #Knicks #shouldnt #trade