No. 1: Julius Randle is expendable
The full list of New York Knicks players who have made an All-Star Game in the past six seasons: Julius Randle, twice.
The full list of Knicks players who have made an All-NBA team in the last decade: Julius Randle, twice.
Those things are both true, and Randle did make an All-NBA team as recently as last season. Yet no one thinks for a second that he is the best player on the roster; this is Jalen Brunson's team. Unfortunately, Randle's style of offensive game involves a lot of holding the ball, a lot of shots, and not a lot of efficiency.
When it works, it's great. Randle is on a heater over his past few games, averaging 28.8 points per game and shooting well above 50 percent, including 41 on 14-of-19 shooting against the Milwaukee Bucks in the In-Season Tournament on Tuesday. Yet even a stretch of hot shooting doesn't exonerate his season-long numbers, as he's shooting 43 percent from the field and just 29.2 percent from deep.
Randle is never going to play center in Tom Thibodeau's scheme, forcing him to be a full-time power forward alongside a non-shooting center. That strangles the Knicks' offense from the jump and limits their upside while also forcing the Knicks to put shooting on the court at every other position. If they get another offensive star via trade they can't trust that Randle will fade into a smaller role, either; Randle needs a lot of shots to stay involved, and his value as an off-ball player is virtually nothing.
There is a common archetype among NBA players: some players raise your ceiling, while others simply raise your floor. Randle falls into the second camp; he generally scores decently well on a lot of shots, which means he can help a bad team approach respectability. For the Knicks to raise their ceiling, however, they have to cut Randle loose.
That could mean including Randle in the trade that brings in a star, or it could mean finding a team that values him now and moving him for assets that they can bring to bear on a separate deal for a star. The Knicks aren't going to simply move Randle, but they should probably think about it. Randle is a good player and one who has found success in New York, but if the Knicks want to find a way to step into the circle of contention, it will involve finding a way to trade Julius Randle.