Rumors have been floating around for several months that the Knicks will trade Anthony Randolph to either the Pacers, the Timberwolves, or the Trailblazers, for a first-round pick to be used in any Nuggets-Knicks Carmelo trade. The latest trade rumor made me wonder: If the Knicks will include Randolph in a trade, why, exactly, would the Nuggets prefer a draft pick instead of him?
Randolph oozes with potential. He has filled up box scores and highlight reels against some of the best teams in the league. Golden State fans hated his inclusion in the David Lee trade. He is coming off an injury-riddled season and has played nowhere near the minutes required this season to adequately evaluate his current ability. It is a fair point to question if the argument proposed by Coach d’Antoni has some circular logic behind it. “He won’t play until he’s ready to help the team win,” but what if he needs to begin playing in real games again to become re-acclimated to the league? How could anyone know how good he might be if he never is given minutes? And finally, if three teams are apparently willing to give up a first-round pick for the player, why are neither of the teams who are principals of the proposed trade anxious to hold on to him?
As is well documented on the comment threads of most Knickerblogger posts, many Knicks fans wish that Randolph could be given more playing time, but are alright with the idea of including him as piece in a Carmelo trade, if only for the reason that they doubt d’Antoni will ever give him the playing time required to show his potential. I asked Jeremy at Roundball Mining Company to offer his perspective on the proposed trade, and what he had to say is pretty interesting.
Knickerblogger: “I had one question regarding the new TWolves-Knicks-Nuggets trade scenario- as a Nuggets fan, would you rather have a 1st round pick from Minnesota, or just have Anthony Randolph instead?”
Roundball Mining Co.: “Personally I am a pretty big Anthony Randolph fan, much more so than most. If Denver is serious about the rumored trade, they would be sacrificing a major aspect of any Melo trade they have been working for and that is acquiring a young player with big time potential. Chandler is fine and still has room to grow, but he is not a prospect that could turn into an all-star some day and make the trade a win for Denver. Plus I do not think he wants to stay in Denver longterm and in order to keep him this summer, or whenever the next free agent period is, the Nuggets will have to pay him. The Knicks do have a young, cheap potentially great player they are willing to trade and that is Randolph… If the pick from Minnesota is unprotected, I could see making a case for the pick over Randolph, but the player I have personally wanted from the Knicks roster from the start has been Randolph.”
And thus the enigma that is Anthony Randolph: a player whom two franchises don’t seem eager to hold on to, with fan bases of those franchises both wanting to give him playing time. The reasons why he is benched are not completely off base : he’s shown a propensity for horrific turnovers, and his shooting percentage is quite poor from mid-range. It may also be true that Donnie still values Randolph highly, but views him as a necessary cost in a trade for Carmelo. But I have a feeling that several years from now, we may be left ruing his loss. The more resigned I become to to the fact he would probably be included in a trade for Melo, the more I just wish that Knicks fans could be the ones to see what he’ll become.