Knicks Face Increased Pressure to Trade Julius Randle Post-Playoffs: Executive

Knicks face tough decisions in post-season roster management.

by Abdullah Magsi
Knicks Face Increased Pressure to Trade Julius Randle Post-Playoffs: Executive
© Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

As the NBA playoffs unfolded, the New York Knicks faced a complex dilemma with power forward Julius Randle. Sidelined since January due to a shoulder injury, Randle's absence posed a significant question: would his absence highlight his value to the team or diminish it? Inside the corridors of Madison Square Garden and across the NBA, Randle’s situation was a focal point of roster strategy discussions.

Initially, the concern was that if the Knicks faltered in the playoffs without Randle, it might underscore his importance, potentially boosting the likelihood of extending his contract. Conversely, a strong team performance in his absence could lead to increased calls for his trade.

Ultimately, the Knicks' playoff run ended not solely due to Randle's absence but because of other key injuries. Interestingly, the team coped well without him, which has led some to speculate about the potential benefits of trading him, although this situation did little to enhance his trade value.

Trade Pressure Mounts

In a statement to Heavy Sports, an Eastern Conference General Manager emphasized the pressure on the Knicks' front office: “There is going to be a lot of pressure on them to move him, no matter what they do in the playoffs.

If they win without him, then they do not need him. If they lose without him then they need to make big changes, and he’s really the only tool they have to make a big change”. Following the Knicks' elimination by the Pacers in Game 7, he remarked, “They might be under more pressure now”.

Despite being a formidable player with robust statistics, Randle’s fit within the NBA remains challenging. Known for being ball-dominant and not particularly athletic, Randle thrives when the offense revolves around him— a dynamic at odds with how the Knicks have been building around Jalen Brunson.

Since joining the Knicks in 2019, Randle has posted solid numbers, including averages of 24.0 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 5.0 assists prior to his injury. However, his scoring efficiency, particularly from the three-point line, has been less impressive.

The Knicks, meanwhile, are reluctant to consider a salary dump for Randle. Despite the financial pressures, including a looming luxury tax bill, New York values Randle too highly to merely offload him as an expiring contract.

“They’re not going to do that, they do not see him as a salary-dump kind of guy,” said a Western Conference executive. “I mean, he is a good player. He was an All-Star (this year). So you can’t say you’re just going to give away an All-Star”.

As the Knicks contemplate their next moves, the balance between fiscal responsibility and competitive aspirations hangs in the balance. Moving Randle might be necessary to create space for new talent, especially if they decide to push for a major roster upgrade without breaching the luxury tax threshold.

The decision remains a critical one for the Knicks’ strategy moving forward, reflecting the complex interplay of performance, finance, and team dynamics in professional sports.