NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Julius Randle Trade, Jae Crowder and Grant Williams

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBAFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 20, 2022

NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Julius Randle Trade, Jae Crowder and Grant Williams

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    The 2022-23 NBA season will arrive sooner than you think.

    Media day is just around the corner, with training camps to commence shortly thereafter. Throw in a handful of preseason contests, and poof—the new campaign will be here.

    With the season so close, front offices are finalizing their plans of attack and positioning their rosters for maximum competitiveness now or down the line. Some of those plans have been leaked to reporters, providing us with a fresh batch of basketball buzz to digest.

No Julius Randle Trade for New York?

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    After orchestrating an All-Star emergence just one season prior, Julius Randle crashed back to earth in 2021-22. His counting categories dipped nearly across the board—turnovers being the unfortunate exception—while his shooting rates plummeted. He went from converting 45.6 percent of his field goals and 41.1 percent of his threes to hitting just 41.1 and 30.8 percent, respectively.

    Even worse, he did all of this while continuing to serve as a roadblock ahead of Obi Toppin, the eighth overall pick in 2020 who has yet to log 20 minutes per night.

    With at least three seasons remaining on Randle's pricey pact (he has a $29.5 million player option for 2025-26, per Spotrac), it might make sense for the Knicks to shop him around. There's just one problem: No one is interested.

    "They owe him $107 million over the next four years. There is no one looking to take that on," one general manager told Heavy.com's Sean Deveney. "If you give out that kind of extension and then you're looking to trade the guy a year later, you're not getting anything of value in return."

    The Knicks need Randle to rebound from his rough season and fast. He was arguably a hindrance last year—New York fared far better without him—but returning to All-Star form could position him either as a 'Bockers building block or a valuable trade chip.

Suns' Starting Forward Up for Grabs?

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    Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

    After dabbling in the Kevin Durant talks and seemingly coming close to splitting from former No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton, the Phoenix Suns ultimately settled on a rather sleepy summer. A few role players were shifted around, but nothing major happened.

    Not yet, anyway.

    Perhaps that could change. ESPN's Brian Windhorst said Monday that starting forward Jae Crowder is "available" and the team has been "very active" in shopping him around. Windhorst added there is a belief Phoenix could take back additional money in a Crowder deal, although the Suns are also reportedly working on a contract extension with Cam Johnson, so they might need to watch their spending.

    Crowder, who's entering the final season of his contract, struggled to find his shot last season (39.9/34.8/78.9 slash) and averaged nearly four fewer playoff minutes than in the prior postseason (29.5, down from 33.1). He is still a reliable source of defense and hustle, but maybe the Suns would prefer having someone who is more of an offensive threat in that spot.

Extension Coming for Grant Williams?

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    After showing modest improvement from his rookie to sophomore seasons, Grant Williams made a big leap during his third NBA go-round. The Boston Celtics forward splashed a career-best 41.1 percent of his threes while flashing an impressive amount of defensive versatility.

    He could not have timed the breakout any better, as the 23-year-old is now eligible for a contract extension.

    A potential deal has been discussed with the Boston Celtics, per Deveney, and while nothing is brewing on that front yet, a source involved with the discussion said there is still "optimism" that something will get done.

    If Williams' shooting gains are for real—he shot just 25.0 percent from range as a rookie—then the Celtics might be wise to try getting Williams to put pen to paper now. If not, another strong season could position him for an even bigger payday in 2023 restricted free agency.

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