NBA Trade Rumors: Rival Exec Says Knicks Need To Trade This Player to Have Championship Shot

The New York Knicks got underway in their first-round series with the Philadelphia 76ers Saturday evening, sporting the No. 2 seed in the East, while Philly had to get through a Play-In game to make it to the 7th seed. 

But are the Knicks true championship contenders at this point? One rival NBA executive has told Heavy Sports that before they can get to that point, they'll need to trade away one star player:

Yeah, they’re almost in a situation where they have to do something. They can’t afford to wait. They can stay a pretty good team. But if they want to have a chance at the Finals, they have to find a taker for (Julius Randle), find a way to turn him into a star who fits better.

Randle has been one of the biggest stars on the Knicks for several years now, and this season, in 46 games, averaged 24.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists before going down for the season to injury. His presence won't be a factor at all during these playoffs. 

But the question of his fit alongside Jalen Brunson and OG Anunoby is a question that many fans have asked. Randle has two seasons left on a contract that pays him an average of $29 million per season. But an Eastern Conference GM added that the Knicks will be under "pressure" to trade the volatile 29-year-old whatever the outcome of the next few weeks/months:

“There is going to be a lot of pressure on them to move him, no matter what they do in the playoffs,” the GM told Heavy Sports. “If they win without him, then they do not need him. If they lose without him then they need to make big changes, and he’s really the only tool they have to make a big change.”

Randle's near-$30M stipend will be needed in any trade to bring in a big-money superstar. But will other teams simply view Randle as an over-bloated contract? 

This should be an interesting summer at Madison Square Garden.

 Photo: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports