NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Julius Randle's Future, Knicks' Offseason Plans

Jake RillSenior Analyst IIIJuly 17, 2020

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) smiles as time runs down in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020 in New York. The Knicks beat the Chicago Bulls 125-115. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

Julius Randle just completed his first season with the New York Knicks. Despite being signed until 2022, could it end up being his only season with the team?

Not so fast. As The Athletic's Mike Vorkunov recently noted, it may be challenging for the Knicks to trade Randle in the near future: "Although the franchise wasn't above including him in trade talks this winter, he may get more difficult to deal this offseason when finances are murkier and his deal looms larger."

New York signed Randle to a three-year, $62 million deal last offseason. And because of the coronavirus pandemic, the salary cap for next season is likely going to be affected—The Athletic's John Hollinger recently wrote that it could be about $109 million. So there may not be many teams that want to take on Randle's sizable contract for the next two seasons.

Randle, who will turn 26 in November, put up solid numbers during the 2019-20 season. He averaged 19.5 points and 9.7 rebounds in 64 games while shooting 46 percent from the field. However, in February, SNY's Ian Begley reported that it had been "questioned internally" whether Randle would be a long-term fit in the Knicks lineup alongside RJ Barrett.

At that time, Begley reported on a prospective deal that would have sent Randle to the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for a package including Terry Rozier and Malik Monk.

Since then, New York has undergone a leadership change. Leon Rose is now the team's president, and the Knicks are conducting a search to find their next head coach. As such, opinions about Randle's long-term future with the franchise could be greatly different than earlier this year.

While Randle may be difficult to trade (or could now be seen as more valuable), that's not to say moves won't be coming for the Knicks during the offseason.

"In general, my guess is that Rose and the Knicks will be aggressive in pursuing trades for young, talented players if the opportunity presents itself," Begley recently wrote. "I'd also guess that the club will have a significant number of veterans on the roster next season, in part in an effort to surround the younger players with knowledge and experience."

New York hasn't reached the playoffs since the 2012-13 season, a drought that is extending this year after it wasn't invited to Orlando, Florida, for the resumption of the campaign. It's set to be an important few months for the Knicks as they look to get the right pieces in place in order to return to contention in the Eastern Conference.