Julius Randle could be on the move this offseason.
New York Knicks forward Julius Randle could find himself on a new team by the beginning of next season, as Knicks Fan TV reports trading the recently-signed free agent will be the team’s “number one priority” this offseason.
Adding to the report, KFTV mentioned a rumored deal that would send Randle to Utah for veteran point guard Mike Conley and draft considerations.
“[The] number one priority this offseason for the Knicks will be trading Julius Randle,” Knicks Fan TV reported with The Knick of Time Show on their YouTube show on Sunday. “They are going to look to trade Julius. And the first trade rumor I am hearing is Julius Randle to the Utah Jazz for Mike Conley and draft considerations.”
Randle signed a three-year, $62 million contract last summer after the Knicks couldn’t convince any of the premier free agents to come to New York—or at least to Manhattan.
The former lottery pick quickly became the target of criticism among Knicks fans. In many ways, he represented the failure of the David Fizdale / Steve Mills era, dribbling his way into double teams as the team got off to a 4-18 start, which showed the door to Fizdale and marked the beginning of the end for Mills.
Playing next to Mitchell Robinson, Randle is not an ideal fit in the Knicks’ offense that can use a stretch forward to balance Robinson’s interior presence.
For Utah, this rumored trade makes some sense. By moving Conley’s expiring contract, they open up much-needed cap space as their current roster pushes them close to the tax threshold. They are also looking to lock up both Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert on long-term extensions, so every penny saved for ownership today, amid the pandemic, is helpful for the future.
Conley has one of the richest contracts in the NBA, but the Knicks can create enough cap space to absorb his $34.5 million salary while sending out the $18.9 million owed to Randle next season. Randle has only $4 million guaranteed on the third and final year of his deal in 2021-22.
The veteran, Conley, would give Leon Rose a stop-gap solution at the point guard position until the team identifies a long-term answer, while also preserving precious cap space for 2021 when several top players are expected to hit the open market.
If Rose can charge a draft pick for the cap difference between Conley and Randle, all the better.
It will definitely be something worth monitoring as the offseason plays out.