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Opinion

Will NYK move Randle?

NBA BUZZ - Bobby Motus - The Freeman

The New York Knicks’ current roster have an average age of 26.1 years, a shade above the league average of 26.2 years.  Sophomore point guard Miles McBride is the youngest Knick at 21, with the oldest being fan favorite Derrick Rose who will be 34 when the 2022-2023 season opens.

Rounding up the Knick oldies are Evan Fournier (29), seldom utilized Ryan Arcidiacono (28) and Julius Randle (27). Rumor has it that NYK is reluctant to move D-Rose because of his on-court veteran savvy and unifying locker room factor.

Though talks had stalled for the moment, Fournier and Randle were considered as among the pieces in the race to get the services of Utah’s Donovan Mitchell. Both have a combined salary of at least $40 million next season and moving them would give the Knicks some space to negotiate for much younger and serviceable players.

With his 3-point shooting, Fournier, who was recently given the captaincy of the French national basketball team, would be an asset to any team.  Randle likewise, instantly upgrades a team’s frontline.  But with these positives, both also have their negatives.

Age maybe had caught up with the Frenchman as compared to his time with the Celtics prior to his stint with the Knicks, his 3-point shooting percentage dropped from 46.3% to 38.9%, although his points average upped to 14.1ppg from 13ppg.

Randle had regressed a bit basing on his averages the past two seasons. 2020-2021 was his career-best, with a 45.6 shooting percentage including 41.1% from beyond the arc.  He always needs the ball on his hands but to be more effective, Randle must learn how to score off-ball. Add to the fact that he was often distracted during games as evidenced by his annoyance toward fans and the reported rift with some of his teammates.

So where, if ever, will Randle go?  Reports indicate that the best scenario would be with Charlotte taking into consideration the status of Miles Bridges, which is between purgatory and hell.

The Hornets, at the end of the season, extended to Bridges a qualifying offer which allows them to match any offer sheet presented by any other team. A restricted free agent, Bridges is set to sign at least a $100m contract extension but with the domestic violence charges he’s facing and the possibility of jail time, team owner Michael Jordan most likely will drop the offer.

This is where Randle can be of service. He will add depth to the frontline of PJ Washington, Kelly Oubre, Jr., Jalen McDaniels and Mason Plumlee. Think of him running opposite LaMelo Ball on fastbreak plays.

Although already 32 and injury prone, Gordon Hayward will be entering his 12th season and with his 15.9 scoring average, he could be a good fit for the Knicks. Coach Tom Thibodeau should make use of Howard’s ability of moving without the ball, giving more space for Mitchell Robinson, Obi Toppin and perhaps Isaiah Hartenstein to thrive in the middle.

Of course, decision is all up to Knicks management whether Randle stays or not but this deal would do both teams good.

NBA

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