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Should The Knicks Trade Julius Randle?

Julius Randle's future with the Knicks is uncertain.

With Julius Randle sidelined for the season, the Knicks are entering unfamiliar territory. Since the 2012-13 season, Randle has been the leader in every playoff run for the Knicks. That’s only 2 trips to the playoff by the way in 2021 and 2023. But this year, with a new squad and a different lineup, the Knicks seem primed to make a deep playoff run with Jalen Brunson as their sole star. With a deep squad, the Knicks might make a surprising conference finals or even the NBA finals run.

In that scenario, what do the Knicks do with Randle?

Should The Knicks Trade Julius Randle?

Current Contract Situation

Randle is heading into the final guaranteed contract year at $30.3 million. He has a $32.4 million player option for the 2025-26 season that he will decline. This would make him an unrestricted free agent. He’ll be eligible to sign a four-year, $190.2 million extension this offseason. Still, he stands to gain far more by testing the market in free agency, where he could be eligible for a five-year deal worth more than $300 million in free agency.

However, will the Knicks be willing to offer him such a huge deal? The Knicks clean their books at the end of the 2024-25 season. Brunson and Randle both have player options, Bojan Bogdanovic will be an unrestricted free agent, and Alec Burks, Isaiah Hartenstein, Shake Milton, and Precious Achiuwa are free agents this offseason.

The Knicks will have to resign OG Anunoby and Achiuwa (maybe not), after giving up significant assets to acquire them. There are rumors that Anunoby is looking for anything upwards of 4 years $150 million. While these expectations might be tempered due to his injury history, he wants an average salary of $30 million plus. Brunson is eligible for a contract this off-season, but he is likely to reject that. As a free agent, he could sign a possible 5-year $270 million deal compared to the 4-year $156 million the Knicks can offer him. They have to resign one(or both) of Hartenstein and Achiuwa to complement Mitchell Robinson. They could also choose to resign Burks and Bogdanovic if they choose to, as a backup for their guards.

Knicks Ongoing Playoff Run And Randle’s Playoff History

It all depends on what the Knicks do in the postseason. If they make the conference semi-finals and have a hard-fought series, or if they make it to the conference finals, then the Knicks should move forward with the idea of trading Julius Randle.

Despite all his regular season success, Randle is horrible in the playoffs. Last year, coming off an All-NBA team, Randle averaged 16.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists on 37.4/25.8/70.9 splits. He isn’t a great defender, and his best quality falls off a cliff in the postseason. His dropoff is inevitable, and it has hampered the Knicks. He had the 98th offensive rating in the playoffs last year. His struggles in the brightest moments add pressure on his teammates. In last year’s series against the Heat, Randle had a net rating of -11. His average game score of 12.3 indicated all his games were horrible. He shot just 28.1% from 3, and his inability to shoot allowed the Heat to ease of him on the perimeter and crowd the paint. Brunson attempted 27% of the team’s shots compared to 22.6% of the team’s shots this season.

Knicks should Trade Randle

The offense has taken a major hit since his injury, but it also has been affected by trading away Quickley and Barrett. Anunoby, their major acquisition was injured around the same time as Randle. Consequently, much of the offensive burden fell on Brunson’s shoulders. However, their defense has stepped up. Before Randle’s injury, the Knicks were giving up 109.8 points per game, second best in the league. Post-injury, they are  they are giving up just 105.7 points per game. Their defense has gotten considerably better, and this is mainly without the presence of Anunoby.

Brunson has thrived despite the added load, and it highlights the expendable nature of Randle.  Randle’s offense can be reproduced easily. He isn’t a great floor spacer (33% from 3), operates mainly in the mid-range (similar to Brunson), and has a career-effective field-goal % of 50.9, well below league average. He has an estimated plus-minus of just +1.8, 70th in the league, and ranks 78th in win shares per 48. The Knicks did not drastically improve with him on the court. When he played, they were a 56-win team, and when he didn’t they were a 49-win team. If this team makes a deep playoff run without Randle, the Knicks must trade him before he leaves for nothing next offseason.

Where can they Trade him?

So much of this whole article depends on the postseason. If the Knicks crash and burn within the first two rounds, their willingness to trade Randle should go down. They could still do it if they want an upgrade, but it becomes far more unlikely. So who are the stars that could be on the market?

Donovan Mitchell

There are rumors that Donovan Mitchell will not sign an extension with the Cavs this offseason. In that scenario, the Knicks would try to trade for him. However, there are multiple obstacles. The fit of Brunson and Mitchell in the backcourt is iffy, purely because they are both small guards who are not great defenders. But, it could work wonders if the Knicks can keep Anunoby, Hartenstein, Robinson, Achiuwa, Hart, and DiVincenzo. However, the Knicks would likely need to add a third team to this deal as the Cavs do not need Randle as they have a solidified frontcourt.

Karl-Anthony Towns

The T-Wolves are in a rough spot next year. They have over $100 million committed to three centers Karl Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, and Naz Reid, and $185 million to just 10 players. There are also rumors that Towns dislikes the fact that Edwards is the number one option on the Wolves. With the Knicks, that wouldn’t be an issue. Towns spacing would allow the Knicks to optimize their lineups and play two bigs together, and they have a clear alpha. Randle is also $20 million cheaper than Towns, and he can opt-out after next year, so it gives the Wolves financial flexibility going forward.

Mikal Bridges

This would almost certainly require a third team to re-route Randle towards, but the possibilities are intriguing. Bridges gives the Knicks two defense wings that can lock down the best opposing player, alongside consistent shooting. Bridges has never missed a game in his career, so he can supplement Anunoby when he’s injured. He is a good offensive player and a great defender, and his iron man ability is just what Thibs loves. Furthermore, the possibility of a Villanova reunion with Brunson, DiVincenzo, and Hart is intriguing.


The Knicks have plenty of options to pursue this offseason depending on how the playoffs proceed. There is a strong possibility January 28 might be Julius Randle’s last game as a Knick.


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