Julius Randle was expected to be a trade candidate this season, but he is playing like an All-Star, and that is something the New York Knicks didn’t think would happen.
Randle living up to his contract? That is not something you heard any Knicks fan ask in his first year in New York, but he is making up for it this season and it should result in an All-Star selection. He is averaging 22.4 points per game, including a 44-point performance in the Knicks’ third straight win. The 26-year-old also has career-highs in rebounds and assists.
The Knicks front office likely entered the season with the intention of trading Randle to a contender who is willing to take on his contract. New York was supposed to be one of the NBA’s worst teams in Tom Thibodeau’s first season as the head coach. However, the opposite has happened 29 games in with the Knicks a playoff contender. They currently hold the sixth seed with a 14-15 record. Instead of selling their veterans, they are adding. Derrick Rose has had a tremendous impact in the locker room and coming off the bench since he was traded from Detroit.
Trading Randle is Off the Table
Imagine if the Knicks traded Randle now like they were expected to do at the beginning of the season? Fans would be in an uproar. He went from being in the way of Obi Toppin‘s development to becoming the main reason that the team is currently in the playoff picture.
If New York is confident that Randle will continue to be an All-Star caliber player past this season, they should seriously look at offering an extension. One should not overreact to less than half of a season, but it is notable that the forward took his conditioning seriously in the offseason and it has paid off.
Time will tell if Randle can continue leading the Knicks to wins consistently. Right now, he is the face of the franchise and is not going anywhere.