Despite falling to the Miami Heat in the second round of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the New York Knicks can not be upset with how their season went. They finished the regular season as the 5th seed in the East and were able to knock off the 4th seeded Cleveland Cavaliers in only five games.
They played incredibly in the first round, however, they did not have what it took to get past a veteran team like the Heat. Also in this season, Jalen Brunson emerged as the league’s newest star point guard. He is well on his way to making his first All-Star appearance and being the face of the franchise for the Knicks.
One of the few negatives to take away from their playoff run was the play of Julius Randle. In the first round against the Cavaliers, he averaged 14.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game while shooting an abysmal 33.8% from the field and 23.5% from three. While he took a step up against the Heat in round two, it was still far from what the Knicks needed out of a player with a contract the size of Randle’s. He averaged 18.8 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 4.2 assists while shooting 41.1% from the field and 28.1% from three.
With Brunson set to be a player that can make some real noise in the playoffs, and the Knicks hungry for some postseason success, there is a case that they should attempt to move Randle for a star player to put alongside Brunson.
Despite his rough performance in the postseason, Randle had a very solid regular season and made an appearance in the All-Star game. He averaged 25.1 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 4.1 assists while shooting 45.9% from the field and 34.3% from three. If he had been able to shoot even as efficiently as he had in the regular season in the playoffs, Knicks fans likely would not be calling for his head.
It could easily be explained away that the stretch through this year’s playoffs was just a shooting slump for Randle and he could end up making up for it in next year’s playoff run.
While Randle had a great season, he has proven to be deadweight in both of his career playoff appearances. While it was better than his performance in this year’s playoffs, in the 2020-21 season, Randle averaged 18.0 points 11.6 rebounds, and 4.0 assists while shooting a rough 29.8% from the field and 33.3% from three.
With Randle’s All-Star caliber regular season, this will likely be the highest his trade value will ever be for the remainder of his career. As a result of this, it may be time to move him to another team.
It would be in the New York Knicks’ best interest to trade Randle from the team in the offseason. They have the assets to be able to put together a package for a star player to put beside Brunson. If they combined Randle with R.J. Barrett and some draft capital, they could create a dynamic duo in New York.
Although he only has 15 playoff games under his belt, Randle has proven in his two trips to the postseason that he can not perform when the lights are the brightest. With this being the strongest chance that the Knicks have had of making a push for a deep playoff run since the Carmelo Anthony era, now is the time to go all in.
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