Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau has admitted to associates that he hasn’t been able to get Julius Randle to exhibit the same selflessness he had last season, an NBA source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. Randle’s downturn has been a major reason why the team has fallen into the race for the play-in tournament after finishing fourth in the East a year ago.
Many observers believe the $117MM extension that Randle signed during the offseason has changed his approach to the game, as he now feels that he has to take on a greater part of the scoring load to justify the contract. Berman also cites incidents where Randle has looked disinterested — he didn’t join a team huddle in a game last week and he has walked away from teammates who have been knocked to the ground rather than helping them up.
The Knicks are willing to consider everything heading into the deadline, sources tell Berman, even a deal involving Randle, who emerged as a team leader last season while capturing Most Improved Player honors. Berman suggests that Randle’s regression, along with his battles with fans and media, may convince team president Leon Rose that he’s no longer suited for a leadership role.
There’s more from New York:
- The Kings‘ De’Aaron Fox may be a natural target for the Knicks, who have been searching for a point guard for years, Berman adds in the same piece. New York general manager Scott Perry drafted Fox when he worked in Sacramento, but Berman says it’s no longer clear how much influence Perry has in the organization. He doesn’t accompany the team on the road, and the only executive currently making road trips is William Wesley, who Berman said has surpassed Perry in the team’s power structure.
- Derrick Rose needs to be active at the trade deadline to have any hope of turning this season around, argues Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post. Vaccaro considers RJ Barrett, Rose, and Quentin Grimes to be the team’s untouchable players, along with Cam Reddish, only because the Knicks just gave up a first-round pick to acquire him. Everyone else, Vaccaro adds, should be available in the right deal.
- Ryan Arcidiacono‘s 10-day contract expired over the weekend, Berman tweets. The Knicks will keep the roster spot open for now, which could be an advantage heading into the deadline. Arcidiacono didn’t see any game action during his time with the team.