It’s no secret that Julius Randle has not been a fit in Tom Thibodeau’s Knicks system this year.
After bursting onto the scene last season, Randle has struggled, even looking disinterested at times for the Knicks this year. And this week, a report indicated that he was trying to emulate James Harden in forcing his way onto a different team.
“But some people around the league feel he’s acting in a “James Harden type of way” that suggests he wants a new place of work next season. Randle has lost his strongest ally in assistant coach Kenny Payne, his former mentor at Kentucky who left this month to be the head coach at Louisville. Some NBA sources believe the Knicks will shop Randle for a package revolving around a center if they lose Mitchell Robinson.
In the final minute of the Charlotte laugher last week, Randle left the bench, then stayed in the tunnel with a public relations staffer. But that’s nothing compared to his decision to no longer participate in the pregame starting lineup introductions for road games — choosing instead to stay in the back to warm up.
Sources contend a lack of leadership from Randle has hurt the club this season. One source said Randle sometimes dresses by himself in another area of the locker room.”
Today, Tom Thibodeau slammed the rumors surrounding Julius Randle.
Tom Thibodeau on the WFAN “unconfirmed” report that Julius Randle asked for a trade following Monday’s game: “Are you serious? C’mon. You know I’m not gonna respond to something like that anyway, but let’s be real. C’mon."
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) March 30, 2022
Tom Thibodeau was also asked if he legitimately believed that Julius Randle wanted to be on the Knicks going forward. He gave a sort of roundabout answer.
“Yeah, as a coach, you coach the players that you have. And you love them all. If you play for me, I love you. It’s simple. The challenge is to bring the best out of each other,” he replied.
After looking like they were crawling out of the cellar of the NBA last season, Tom Thibodeau’s Knicks have sputtered this season. They currently sit at a disappointing 34-42, and would be one spot out of the play-in tournament if the season were to end today.
By the sounds of it, Julius Randle and Thibodeau could be heading away from the Big Apple sooner rather than later…
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