According to an anonymous NBA executive, the New York Knicks’ Most Improved Player champion is far from being suitable for inclusion in any deal that would make them next season’s most improved team.
Speaking with Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney, the exec poured water over the fires of a Julius Randle trade, claiming that the veteran’s fall from grace after earning a $117 million contract extension makes him transactions poison.
“They owe him $117 million over the next four years,” the executive said. “There is no one looking to take that on. 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.”
Randle, set to turn 28 in November, earned his windfall after serving as one of the primary reasons behind the Knicks’ fourth-place finish in 2020-21, ending a seven-year playoff drought. However, he regressed in almost every major category last season, leading many to theorize that the Knicks would trade him for new high-profile arrivals. They eventually landed free agent Jalen Brunson on a $104 million deal but failed to ship off Randle elsewhere.
There’s only one way, the exec explains, to enact a Randle deal. Alas for the Knicks, it does them no good at this point in time, especially if they’re looking to bolster their lineup before the season tips off on Oct. 19.
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“The only chance they have is that he has a bounce-back year,” they said. “Then they can look to deal him next summer.”
Randle is expected to retain his spot in the Knicks’ starting five, projected to top the four alongside Brunson, Evan Fournier, R.J. Barrett, and Mitchell Robinson.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags
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