Should the Chicago Bulls look into trading Knicks for Julius Randle?

Julius Randle (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Julius Randle (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

During the looming 2020 offseason, the Chicago Bulls could make a number of moves to try and improve the roster heading into the fourth year of the rebuild.

The cycle of trade rumors could start heating up again in the near future for the eight teams that won’t be competing in the NBA’s recently approved restart plan. The 2019-20 season is set to resume at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL, with games starting on July 31. There will only be nine teams from the Eastern Conference competing at Disney World in Orlando, and that list doesn’t include the Chicago Bulls. Thus the East could be a breeding ground for various trade and free agent rumors as the five teams that didn’t make it in the restart plan start to prepare for the 2020 offseason.

Two of the teams that were near the bottom of the standings in the East this season, prior to the hiatus put in place back in mid-March, were the Bulls and New York Knicks. Two of the biggest market franchises in the East continued to struggle in the midst of two rebuilds in recent years. And both could have further changes to their coaching staffs and rosters this offseason in significant manners.

According to a report from Marc Berman of the New York Post on June 6, the Knicks are open to hearing potential trade proposals for standout power forward Julius Randle. This report comes in the midst of all the rumors surrounding the Knicks search to find a coaching replacement for the departed David Fizdale, who was let go early in the 2019-20 regular season.

Here’s what that piece from the New York Post had to say on the matter of the Randle rumor mill.

"Undoubtedly the Knicks are open to it. His contract for next season ($18.9 million) is manageable but the downside is he will count $4 million on the 2021 cap if they don’t exercise his team option after next season. The 2021 free-agent class is golden. Randle had his moments as a double-double force and is still early in his prime. But Randle’s defense is below average and it’s been reported here his knack of over-dribbling frustrated some teammates, including RJ Barrett. And a bigger disappointment was Randle lost his magic from the 3-point line (27.7 percent). As David Fizdale noted recently, the Knicks could use a 3-point shooting stretch 4. Someone like, say Kristaps Porzingis."

The Knicks signed a bevy of forwards in free agency last offseason, including Randle. He put together a decent run in the season that was for the Knicks, also his first playing at Madison Square Garden. Randle played in 64 games this season while averaging 19.5 points per game, 9.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.3 blocks. He shot 46.0 percent from the field, 27.7 percent from beyond the arc, and 73.3 percent from the free-throw line.

Randle was effective for the Knicks this season, but he doesn’t look to be in their long-term plans of building around the likes of former Duke Blue Devils wing R.J. Barrett. With that, he could be on the move quickly when he’s eligible to be traded this offseason.

Another point to the immediacy of the trade rumors with the Knicks and Randle is how quickly the front office finds a coaching replacement for Fizdale. Depending on who that is, the fit with Randle might not be so good, thus the Knicks might trade him sooner.

One of the often mentioned potential coaching replacements for Fizdale in New York City is the former Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. It doesn’t seem like a great fit between a high usage player like Randle that tends to not be the best defender and a tough coach like Thibodeau.

However, another question worth asking for a new-look front office regime in the Windy City is what it would take to get Randle to the Bulls ahead of next season?

Randle is clearly a forward capable of averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds per game, when he’s commonly in the starting five. Even coming off the bench, he would be a standout post presence and add valuable frontcourt depth.

If the Bulls are looking to ship out any of the trio that includes power forward/center Cristiano Felicio, forward Thaddeus Young, or power forward Lauri Markkanen, then it could make room to bring in Randle. Who knows, the Bulls might even be able to configure a trade involving the likes of Randle and Young, among other players likely to be included.

Randle is a good rebounder (16.0 percent rebounding rate this season) and a very underrated facilitator (15.8 percent assist rate). The Bulls could use another big man that could both facilitate and help push the development of the to-be third-year former Duke center Wendell Carter Jr. The court vision is there for WCJ, but he has yet to fully utilize it in meaningful game action regularly.

It does make some sense for the Bulls to pursue a potential Randle trade this offseason, if it doesn’t cost them too much in return. He is on the books for around $19-20 million over each of the next two years, so the salary matching could be tricky.

Maybe something could be worked out including the Bulls highest paid players, and former Washington Wizards small forward Otto Porter Jr. in potential trade talks with the Knicks.

Next. Burning questions for the Bulls this offseason. dark

The Bulls wrapped up the 2019-20 regular season with a record of 22-43 through 65 games played. Both them and the Knicks won’t be competing in Disney World next month to round out the season in the post-novel coronavirus induced hiatus run. The Knicks finished up the season with an even worse record than the Bulls, at 21-45.