On Monday night the Phoenix Suns defeated the New York Knicks 118-110. In doing so, they ended the latter squad’s nine-game winning streak.
While falling to Phoenix was no doubt somewhat disappointing, New York has a lot to be proud of. The team currently sits fourth in the Eastern Conference and is playing with a sense of purpose that hasn’t been seen from them in about a decade.
One of the main catalysts of the Knicks’ resurgence this year has been Julius Randle. Before going a little cold against the Suns, he hit the 30-point mark in six of his last seven games and hit the 40-point mark twice.
On the year, Randle is averaging 24.0 points on 46.2 percent shooting, 10.5 rebounds and 6.0 assists per outing. His play has been so good, in fact, that some NBA legends believe he is better than Zion Williamson.
Which makes it all the funnier that the Knicks actually contemplated trading him prior to the trade deadline.
According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, the prospect of a deal getting done was on the table.
“The Knicks, at least briefly, did consider the notion of moving Randle at the deadline, sources said, when the first-time All-Star’s trade value may have reached its peak,” he wrote. “If a 30-year-old Nikola Vucevic netted two first-round picks and more for Orlando, what would some interested suitor have paid for a 26-year-old forward just approaching his prime?”
This story just keeps getting sadder. https://t.co/psNkvJL8gS
— Game 7 (@game7__) April 24, 2021
A team trying to sell a player when he reaches his perceived peak is not unusual in the NBA. The Chicago Bulls tried doing something similar with Zach LaVine.
That said – there’s something pretty humorous about the fact that the Knicks almost traded away arguably the single biggest driving force behind their recent revival.
It will be interesting to see how the relationship between New York and Randle progresses from here. Will the franchise build a team around him, or simply continue to view him as an asset that could potentially be used to secure bigger and brighter stars? Time will tell.