NBA Trades: 3 'X-factor' moves to transform the Knicks

Mikal Bridges (pictured) versus Philadelphia 76ers
Mikal Bridges (pictured) versus Philadelphia 76ers / G Fiume/GettyImages
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2) Trade Julius Randle

While there's nothing significant regarding 'Julius Randle trade rumors', there definitely is a little bit of uncertainty regarding Randle's future in New York. Playing only 46 games this season, Randle averaged 24 points, nine rebounds, and five assists per game. In doing so, the All-Star selection shot 47 percent from the field and 31 percent from three.

The numbers were down for Randle, who averaged 25 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists per game on 45 percent shooting (34 percent from three) in 2022-23. Randle was also an All-NBA Third Team selection and All-Star that season. However, Randle still hasn't topped his MVP-caliber second season with the Knicks in 2020-21. Randle averaged 24 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists per game that season, shooting 45 percent and 41 percent from three, which is easily a career best.

Since that 2020-21 season, where he not only won Most Improved Player, but also finished eighth in Most Valuable Player as an All-NBA Second Team selection and All-Star, Randle's tenure in New York has only grown more tense with more questions than answers. Entering his age 30 season, Randle has two years left on his four-year, $117 million ($106 million guaranteed) extension he signed with New York in 2022. Randle can make up to $110 million, with a $30 million player option in 2025-26.

With an injured Randle, the Knicks offense flourished with the ball in Jalen Brunson's hands, both as a scorer and as a playmaker for Donte DiVincenzo, Josh Hart, OG Anunoby, Isaiah Hartenstein, and others. The Knicks began to play more efficient offensive basketball, playing at a faster pace with tenacious defense. The Knicks didn't appear to feel the absence of Randle's presence, which could 'sound the alarms' towards Randle and his true impact on winning.

On one note, moving Randle to another team could open an opportunity for New York to not only receive depth for their roster but also find a player who may better fit their future and their offense with Jalen Brunson's ascension. If New York strikes out on resigning Anunoby and Hartenstein, moving could be a realistic option to recoup the lost assets. On the flip side, if the Knicks were able to retain one (or both) of their top free agents, they could find an 'upgrade' over Randle.