Knicks Trade Rumors: 'Impression' Is Julius Randle Could Be Available for Right Deal

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 27, 2022

CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 24: Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks looks on during the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on January 24, 2022 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

Less than a year after signing him to a four-year extension, the New York Knicks may be willing to move on from Julius Randle.

Ian Begley of SNY.tv reported the Knicks could make Randle available ahead of the Feb. 10 trade deadline for the "right return." 

Randle has failed to live up to his All-NBA form from 2020-21, averaging 18.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists so far this season. While those are solid numbers, his efficiency as a shooter has taken a massive dip (30.7 percent from three-point range, down from 41.1 percent last season) and he's had an increasingly contentious relationship with fans.

Randle apologized after giving Knicks fans a thumbs-down gesture and telling them to "shut the f--k up" after facing boos in a Jan. 6 game against the Boston Celtics. The incident pointed at a combination of frustration with fans and Randle's struggles to handle being a 1A star in the New York spotlight.

The Knicks head into Friday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks at 23-26 and are on the outside looking in of the Eastern Conference playoff hunt. It's been a near-constant struggle for one of last season's surprise darlings, a regression that was expected by some outsiders but few inside the five boroughs.

Randle's four-year contract extension kicks in next season and pays him a manageable $117 million. In the modern NBA cap world, he could theoretically be the third-highest paid player on a championship contender. 

The issue with the Knicks' construction is that they are built around a group of mid-tier veterans making mid-tier salaries. Their cap space is tied up in a mediocre roster with no veterans besides Randle who could be the cornerstone of a blockbuster trade.

That said, it's unlikely Randle goes anywhere ahead of the deadline unless the tensions that came to the surface earlier this month are worse than they seem.