The Los Angeles Lakers are looking for roster upgrades (as evidenced by the Patrick Beverley trade), particularly along the front line to go around Anthony Davis. However, the Lakers have no interest in bringing back current Knick Julius Randle “considering his contract (three years plus a player option on the fourth year) and less-than-ideal fit with Davis and James,” reports Jovan Buha at The Athletic.
That contract isn’t just scaring the Lakers off.
Randle is likely returning to the Knicks because the Knicks would have to attach a first-round draft pick to trade him, reports Fred Katz at The Athletic.
“The four remaining seasons on Randle’s deal have made teams, even ones who believe last season wasn’t representative of who he is, hesitant about acquiring him. The Knicks, meanwhile, haven’t been willing to attach a first-rounder or two to send him elsewhere.”
After signing a four-year, $117 million contract extension that kicks in this season, Randle’s efficiency nose-dived last season — he shot 30.8% from, down from 41.1% the season before, and his advanced stats across the board went from All-NBA level two seasons ago to just above average last season. There were concerns about his conditioning and “psyche.”
Which makes trading a guy with that contract impossible unless the Knicks attach a first-round pick. Which they won’t do.
If Randle bounces back the first part of the season and plays at an All-Star level (or higher), things could be different closer to the February trade deadline. But probably not, that contract will still follow Randle wherever he goes, and that’s what is turning teams off.