New York Knicks rumors: Team reportedly interested in Julius Randle

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Recent New York Knicks rumors involve potential free agency plans, as the team is reportedly interested in Julius Randle.

New York Knicks rumors have quieted down recently as a number of events have occurred that have dashed the team’s big dreams for this offseason before they could even get started.

The 2019 NBA Draft Lottery didn’t pan out as they had hoped, as New York landed the No. 3 overall pick, with the New Orleans Pelicans winning the first overall pick and the right to select Zion Williamson. His Duke teammate, R.J. Barrett, is likely to be the Knicks’ pick and would be a solid consolation prize.

Free agency is on the docket after the draft, and there were big plans there as well. However, those plans were dealt a blow when Kevin Durant ruptured his Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Without Durant, the team’s plans have been altered, as he is reportedly going to miss the entire 2019-20 season. It will be tough to sell other top players on teaming up in the Big Apple without Durant in the fold for at least one season.

While things have yet not gone according to plan, there is still a lot that the Knicks can do. They have $74 million to spend and there are plenty of great players that will be available this summer.

New York is hopeful to get a meeting with Kawhi Leonard, whom every team in the league would love to land. Kyrie Irving was also on their wish list, but he reportedly favors the Brooklyn Nets over the Knicks.

More from NBA Free Agency

Scott Perry and Steve Mills could try and lure players with balloon deals, much like the Los Angeles Lakers did with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the Philadelphia 76ers did with J.J. Redick. That would help the team conserve future cap space flexibility.

That tactic could be used to lure some of the bigger free agents who are looking to cash in. One player to keep an eye on in free agency that the team reportedly likes is Julius Randle.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, Randle is someone the team could be interested in signing to a long-term deal if its misses out on the top-tiered free agents that will be available.

Signing Randle would disappoint some fans who bought into the Kevin Durant/Kyrie Irving hype, but there is no denying that Randle would be a huge upgrade for the Knicks in the frontcourt.

Last season, Randle finally put things together on both ends of the court, putting up career-highs across the board. After beginning his breakout with the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2017-18 season, he exploded in his lone season with the New Orleans Pelicans in 2018-19.

Randle averaged 21.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.6 blocks in 30.6 minutes per game. He knocked down 34.4 percent of his 3-point attempts and improved to 73.1 percent from the foul line as well. Expanding his range to fit into today’s modern NBA was a great move by Randle, who should receive a big raise on the $9 million he received last year in free agency.

While Randle could use some improvements defensively, as he was the third-worst ranked center in Defensive Real Plus-Minus on ESPN at -1.39, he could benefit from playing alongside a defensive-minded center such as Mitchell Robinson, who finished with a 0.99, which ranked 48th.

Randle made up for the poor defensive showing with his offense, where he had an Offensive Real Plus-Minus of 1.50, which was sixth among 71 centers. Only Nikola Jokic, Karl-Anthony Towns, Joel Embiid, Nikola Vucevic and Al Horford were better offensively at center.

Randle could slot in at power forward next to Mitchell Robinson, giving the Knicks an intriguing starting five of Dennis Smith Jr., R.J. Barrett, Kevin Knox, Randle and Robinson. That would be a lot of fun to watch, but it would more than likely put off contending for a playoff spot at least one more year.

While that didn’t seem to be the plan when the season ended, continuing the rebuild around the young players on the team wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen. If they handle their financials well, the Knicks would once again be players in free agency in 2020.

Next. Winners and losers of the Anthony Davis trade. dark

Keeping that flexibility going forward should be the No. 1 goal for the New York Knicks if they are unable to make significant upgrades to the roster in free agency. Randle wouldn’t be a bad signing by any means, but he doesn’t really move the needle much by himself.