According to FanSided’s Knicks Page, one of the Knicks’ “number one priority” this offseason is to trade Julius Randle, with one rumor saying the power forward could be sent to Utah.
Randle signed a three-year, $62.1M ($56.7M guaranteed) just last year. The seventh overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft is set to make $18.9M next season and $19.8M the following season, though just $4M is guaranteed in the final year.
One year removed from his 21.4 PPG on 52% shooting season in New Orleans, Randle regressed to scoring 19.5 PPG on 46% shooting. His PER dropped from 21.0 to 17.5 and his Box Plus/Minus went from 1.5 to -0.3 (Offensive Box Plus-Minus dropped from 2.1 to 0.7).
It was certainly frustrating to watch the 25-year-old Randle play this season as he often found himself taking the ball up the court, drive to the basket, get doubled team and force a shot to the rim without ever looking for the open man. Or he would try to spin out of a double team and dribble it off his foot. He was subject to much criticism from Knicks fans on social media.
One of the potential rumored trades would be sending Randle to the Utah Jazz in exchange for 32-year-old Mike Conley and draft considerations.
The former Ohio State Buckeye signed the richest contract in NBA history at the time in 2016 when he and the Memphis Grizzlies agreed to a five-year, $152,605,576 contract. He was traded to Utah in 2019 for Grayson Allen, Kyle Korver, Jae Crowder, the rights to Darius Bazley, and a protected first-round pick.
Conley is expected to make $34,502,130 next season in the final year of his contract. In his first year in Salt Lake City, Conley played in 47 games, starting in 41 games and averaging 14.4 PPG and 4.4 APG on 41% shooting from the field. This after scoring a career-high 21.5 PPG in his final year in Memphis.
If Utah is foolish enough to acquire Randle AND trade away a pick, the Knicks should jump on this. The trade could offer the Knicks a quick solution at point guard while they continue to search for the answer at the position long-term.
If the Knicks get Conley and draft a point guard, he would certainly be a great veteran presence and teacher for the young man who could also teach Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith, Jr. a thing or two.
Plus, it would get rid of Randle, who was an eyesore watching at times and could give another power forward an opportunity to show what he’s got.
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