Julius Randle

Eastern Rumors: Capela, Fizdale, Bulls, Randle, Heat

Veteran Hawks center Clint Capela is expected to be on the trading block this summer, Marc Stein reports at Substack.

As Stein explains, the Swiss big man will be on an expiring $22.3MM contract in 2024/25. Atlanta won the draft lottery and gave Onyeka Okongwu a four-year rookie scale extension last offseason, so Capela could be on move, particularly if the team chooses a big man with the No. 1 overall pick.

Capela, who just turned 30 years old, averaged 11.5 PPG, 10.6 RPG and 1.5 BPG in 73 games last season (25.8 MPG). The 10-year veteran has averaged a double-double for seven straight seasons.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • According to Stein, before the Bulls hired Wes Unseld Jr. and Dan Craig to be the top assistants under head coach Billy Donovan, they showed interest in David Fizdale. A former head coach, Fizdale was an assistant with the Suns this past season but may be departing after Frank Vogel was fired. Phoenix reportedly offered Fizdale a front office position to stay with the team, but he has yet to accept it.
  • Rival teams are monitoring Julius Randle‘s situation with the Knicks, Shams Charania of The Athletic stated on FanDuel TV’s Run It Back (Twitter video link). Randle will be extension-eligible this summer and holds a $34.2MM player option for ’25/26, meaning he could be a free agent next year if he opts out. “How (the Knicks) handle that extension situation, if that is a conversation, what transpires, I think that will be interesting,” Charania said.
  • The Heat may have to barter this year if they want to trade their second-round pick (No. 43 overall) or acquire another one, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. As Winderman details, for the upcoming ’24/25 season, teams that purchase a second-rounder with cash will be hard-capped at the first tax apron, and Miami is keenly aware of that fact. “It definitely factors in,” said Adam Simon, the Heat’s vice president of basketball operations and assistant general manager. “And you have to look at the big picture and what business you’re doing. And, so, that’ll come into play. But doing something that’s going to hard cap you, you definitely have to take that into consideration.”

Knicks Notes: Brunson, Hart, Randle, Toppin

The last time Knicks guard Jalen Brunson and Pacers coach Rick Carlisle were together in a playoff series, they were on the same side, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. It was 2021, long before Brunson became an All-Star, and he saw just 10 minutes off the bench in a Game 7 loss to the Clippers that turned out to be the end of Carlisle’s tenure in Dallas. Asked about that experience after Saturday’s practice, Brunson said there are no hard feelings and it won’t factor into his preparation for the matchup with Indiana.

“In all honesty, I said this last time, you’re in the playoffs now, there is no extra motivation,” Brunson said. “It is what it is. The past is the past. Rick welcomed me into the league and helped me become the player [I am today] and helped me grow from Day 1. Coaches got to make decisions that better suit their teams. Whatever happened, happened, and we’re moving forward from there.” 

Brunson’s game flourished after Jason Kidd replaced Carlisle with the Mavericks, enabling him to get a huge offer from the Knicks as a free agent in 2022. Carlisle also said there’s no point in focusing on the past and acknowledged that Brunson has become one of the league’s top players.

“Jalen Brunson is a guy you would never bet against,” Carlisle said. “You just don’t bet against that guy. I don’t know if anybody saw this coming, what he’s achieved for two years now, but if you know him and you know his character, you’re not surprised. You’re not shocked.” 

There’s more from New York:

  • Comments that Josh Hart made about Indiana in February are being revisited ahead of the Knicks-Pacers series, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. Hart was critical of the Hoosier State on a “Roommates Show” podcast with Brunson, saying, “If I don’t have to play the Indiana Pacers, I’m not stepping foot in that state. I don’t want to be in Indiana for any All-Star break, for anything. I am not an Indiana guy.” Hart added that he enjoys a couple of Indianapolis food options, but otherwise called the state “bottom of the barrel.”
  • Even though the Knicks were able to get past Philadelphia in round one, Hart said they’re not the same team without Julius Randle, relays Ian Begley of SNY. Randle has been out of action since separating his right shoulder in late January. “He’s an All-Star. He [averaged] 24-9-and-5 or whatever it is, so that play-making, shot making, is something that we’re missing,” Hart said. “It’s funny: when people talk about us they somehow forget the big void we have of 24-and-9 gone. It’s not like he’s out there with us 70-80 percent.  He’s not out there. So that’s something that’s a big void that we knew was gonna be hard to fill; but his play-making, his shot making, his energy is something that we definitely miss.”
  • One of the storylines of the upcoming series will be the presence of Obi Toppin, who was Leon Rose’s first draft pick after taking over as president of the Knicks, Botte notes in a separate story. Toppin was stuck behind Randle in New York, but he posted career-best numbers after being traded to Indiana last summer for a pair of second-round picks.

Atlantic Notes: Williams, Martin, Tatum, Brown, Nurse, Randle

Could Bulls forward Patrick Williams get a fresh start with the Raptors? The Athletic’s Eric Koreen believes Williams could be a realistic free agent target and good fit in Toronto, even though he’ll be eligible for restricted free agency. Caleb Martin, Tyus Jones and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are some of the other free agents who could fill a need on Toronto’s roster, Koreen adds.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Jayson Tatum said that opponents’ game plans in the postseason against the Celtics put an emphasis to “pick up the pace, the pressure, be more physical, crash the glass, do all the intangible things.” Boston showed it could wreck those plans – at least against a depleted Heat team – while advancing to the second round.  “Why don’t we flip the script and be the tougher team?” Tatum told The Athletic’s Jay King. “Why don’t we crash the glass more? Why don’t we pick up the pressure on defense while still being the talented team that we are? It’ll be tough to beat us.”
  • Jaylen Brown‘s bank account benefited from the Celtics’ first-round victory. With his team reaching 49 wins and the second round of the playoffs, Brown received a $553,572 bonus, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.
  • Sixers coach Nick Nurse said that his team’s improbable late rally in Game 5 against New York on Tuesday shows the value of playing at full tilt until the finish, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer relays. “Well, I think that the main thing is that — and I know it sounds very trite — it’s 48 minutes,” Nurse said. “You have to really understand this is 48 minutes and the amount of times I was saying, ‘This is only a two-possession game.’ It felt a lot worse than that. You know what I mean?”
  • Knicks forward Julius Randle has decided to return to Creative Artists Agency for representation, The Athletic’s Fred Katz tweets. Randle left CAA for WME Sports last year.

Knicks Notes: Brunson, Randle, Anunoby, Bogdanovic, Seeding

The Knicks have some big decisions coming this offseason beyond OG Anunoby potentially hitting free agency, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Post, as both Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle will be extension-eligible.

Offering Brunson the maximum extension they’re able to is pretty straightforward, but he can earn significantly more money on his next contract if he declines his 2025/26 player option and hits free agency next year, so he might not be interested in locking in a new deal quite yet.

Still, as Bondy details, there are reasons why Brunson may accept the extension. For starters, he would be eligible for another deal sooner, potentially closing the earnings gap down the road — similar to what Giannis Antetokounmpo did just before this season started. Long-term financial security is another factor that might work in the Knicks’ favor, Bondy adds.

I mean, obviously that’s a thing that you want to have, security,” said Brunson — who, even if he makes All-NBA, is not eligible for a super-max extension because he signed with the Knicks as a free agent. “But I’m just focusing on finishing the season, doing the best we can to make sure everyone’s back healthy and just doing my part. That’s at the forefront of my mind and I’ll worry about that stuff later.”

Bondy argues it wouldn’t make sense to extend Randle, given the injuries the three-time All-Star has sustained over the past year and Brunson’s stellar play in his absence. It would also limit the club’s flexibility moving forward, something the Knicks have been heavily focused on since president of basketball operations Leon Rose took over in 2020.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • While Boston didn’t have much to play for on Thursday, having locked up the East’s No. 1 seed a long time ago, New York’s dismantling of the NBA’s top team was impressive, led by another dominant performance from Brunson, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic. “The way he plays, the things he can do, it’s definitely special,” Anunoby said of Brunson. “He’s one of the best in the league. He’s playing like an MVP; (he) should win MVP.” Brunson finished with 39 points on 15-of-23 shooting in 30 minutes against the Celtics’ second-ranked defense.
  • In the closing seconds of a chippy game, Nets guard Cam Thomas shoved Brunson to the ground out of frustration in Brooklyn’s loss to New York on Friday, prompting Anunoby to stand up for his teammate, per Andrew Battifarano of The New York Post. “It means a lot,” Brunson said (Twitter link via Ian Begley of SNY.tv). Both Thomas and Anunoby received technical fouls for the incident.
  • Bojan Bogdanovic‘s transition to New York hasn’t gone smoothly, but he’s been strengthening his case for having a rotation role in the playoffs with his recent play, Bondy writes for The New York Post. “I’ve been confident, even with a lot of ups and downs that I’ve had with the Knicks,” said Bogdanovic, who was acquired at the trade deadline from Detroit. “I’m feeling more comfortable in my role right now. Kind of adjusting a little bit because it’s not the same. I’ve been a starter for 10 years, but here going into the playoffs, I hope that I’m starting to play way better and keep my level up.”
  • It wasn’t their best performance on a second of a back-to-back, but Friday’s victory secured a top-four playoff seed for the Knicks, as Peter Botte of The New York Post relays. Many of the final seedings in both conferences remain up in the air — New York can still finish anywhere from No. 2 to No. 4.

Knicks Notes: Playoff Berth, Anunoby, Hartenstein, Randle

The Knicks weren’t in action on Wednesday, but it was still a big night for the franchise, which clinched a playoff spot for the second consecutive year as a result of Miami’s loss to Dallas, as Peter Botte of The New York Post writes.

Although the Knicks are assured of avoiding the play-in tournament now that they’ve locked up their playoff berth, much is still to be determined in the final four days of the regular season — New York could finish anywhere from second to sixth in the Eastern Conference, depending on how the team’s final three games play out. Jalen Brunson indicated on Tuesday that the Knicks don’t plan to take their foot off the gas.

“I just think as we get close to the end of the season, we’ve been talking about not jogging to the finish line, just sprinting to it,” Brunson said. “So making sure we’re playing as hard as we can, getting better every single day. And we got to make sure our minds are ready to go.”

The Knicks are in Boston on Thursday before wrapping up the regular season with home games against Brooklyn on Friday and Chicago on Sunday. Even if they don’t lose any of those three contests, they’d need some help from Milwaukee to move up to No. 2 in the East, but they’d finish no lower than No. 3 by winning out.

“We want to win every game, so we play every game to win,” OG Anunoby said after Tuesday’s victory. “We don’t really worry about anything else. Just try to win every game.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • After missing an extended stretch of games due to an elbow injury, Anunoby looked like his old self on Tuesday vs. Chicago. He scored 24 points and made four three-pointers while registering a +12 plus/minus mark in an 11-point victory. As Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post writes, the three-and-D standout is rounding back into form at the perfect time for the Knicks, who are 17-3 when Anunoby has played.
  • After receiving all three of his contract bonuses a year ago, Isaiah Hartenstein has achieved the feat again in 2023/24, earning a total of $1.05MM in incentives, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Hartenstein’s bonuses are for playing at least 1,350 minutes, his team winning at least 40 games, and his team making the playoffs. Since all three were considered likely to be earned entering the season, his cap hit of $9,245,121 remains unchanged.
  • Knicks forward Julius Randle underwent successful surgery on his injured right shoulder on Tuesday, a source tells Stefan Bondy of The New York Post (Twitter link). He’ll be reevaluated in September, as the team announced last week.

Knicks Notes: Anunoby, Hartenstein, Randle, Brunson

After Stefan Bondy of The New York Post wondered if the Knicks‘ obfuscation regarding Julius Randle‘s rehab process might be a bad omen for OG Anunoby‘s recovery timeline, the team has listed Anunoby as questionable to play on Friday in Chicago, per Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link).

As Begley writes, the upgrade to Anunoby’s status looks like a big step forward for the 26-year-old, especially since it comes a day after head coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters that he was “cautiously optimistic” about the forward’s ability to get back on the court. The Knicks didn’t hold a shootaround this morning on the second day of a back-to-back set, so there were no clues about whether or not Anunoby will suit up tonight.

The Knicks are 15-2 in games that Anunoby has played since they acquired him from Toronto at the end of December, but he has missed 27 of the club’s past 30 contests. After sitting out for 18 games due to elbow surgery, the three-and-D specialist was able to suit up just three times before aggravating the elbow issue and returning to the sidelines. He has been unavailable for New York’s past nine games.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Several executives who spoke to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype believe that Isaiah Hartenstein will command around $13MM per year as an unrestricted free agent this offseason, which is right around what the mid-level exception is projected to be worth. For his part, Hartenstein said that if the money is equal, he’d prefer to remain in New York. “I love it here, and hopefully, we’ll figure something out, but at the end of the day, business is business,” he told Scotto.
  • Randle’s teammates expressed sympathy after word broke on Thursday that he’ll have to undergo season-ending surgery after attempting for over two months to work his way back from a shoulder injury, as Bridget Reilly of The New York Post relays. “It’s kind of sad from a personal standpoint. He was putting a lot of work in to try to come back,” Hartenstein said. “I think a lot of players in the league would probably just give up right away and say, ‘I’m getting the surgery.'”
  • With Randle out for the rest of the season and postseason, the pressure will be on Jalen Brunson to continue bearing the brunt of the offensive load and to figure out how to navigate increased defensive attention, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic, who takes a look at how Brunson has been dealing with double-teams and traps.

Knicks Notes: Randle, Ailing Roster, Transactions, Anunoby

Knicks All-Star power forward Julius Randle has been ruled out for the year and will require surgery to treat his injured shoulder. No one seems more broken up about the news than Randle himself. Had the 6’8″ Kentucky product been available, New York seemed like it had a viable path to a deep playoff run. Without him, the team could be in for some tough sledding in the postseason.

During a conversation with Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report, Randle revealed that he suffered a setback to his shoulder during a practice.

“I want everyone to know that I did everything in my power to get back this season,” Randle told Haynes. “That was my intention, to be playing right now. That’s why I didn’t opt for surgery when it happened. But what caused me to finally go through with getting surgery was about five weeks ago, I went through a full-contact session in pads and re-injured my shoulder. My s–t wasn’t stable. I felt like I was in the same state when I first dislocated it, and It’s been an uphill battle ever since.”

This news contradicts New York’s official claim that Randle had been slowly progressing but had yet to return to contact workouts, tweets Fred Katz of The Athletic.

Randle expects to return to the floor for New York at the beginning of the 2024/25 season. The Knicks indicated that they will reassess his shoulder five months after the procedure.

“I visited a couple of shoulder specialists,” Randle revealed. “One said I 100 percent needed to get surgery. Another one said I’m at risk, but if I dislocated it again, I could damage it permanently… I believe in this team and wanted to give it a try. It didn’t work out, unfortunately. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it was my only option at this point. It wasn’t getting right.”

There’s more out of New York:

  • Although the Knicks are struggling through multiple injuries to close out the season, the team’s front office did make the right moves with regard to fleshing out its roster, opines Stefan Bondy of The New York Post.
  • The Knicks now know they’ll be missing Randle for good this season. Peter Botte of The New York Post (subscriber link) offers his prescription for how New York can survive the home stretch of its regular season without him.
  • Katz adds (via Twitter) that the Knicks’ other ailing starting forward, OG Anunoby, still seems to be nearing his own return. Head coach Tom Thibodeau said the team is “cautiously optimistic” about the progress the former Raptors champ has made in his recovery from an elbow ailment.

Julius Randle To Undergo Season-Ending Shoulder Surgery

Julius Randle‘s season is over. The Knicks’ star power forward will undergo season-ending right shoulder surgery, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (Twitter link).

This development ends a two-month odyssey in which Randle tried diligently to rehab the shoulder, which was dislocated against Miami on Jan. 27. Randle took a hard fall when he crashed into Heat rookie Jaime Jaquez while driving to the basket.

It’s a crushing blow to the Knicks’ hopes of a deep playoff run. Randle was averaging 24.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 46 games this season.

Initially, the Knicks believed Randle would only be sidelined a few weeks. Early reviews of an MRI he underwent shortly after the injury indicated no significant damage.

However, Randle’s rehab didn’t go as smoothly as anticipated. Medical experts determined that his shoulder’s continued instability made it unsafe for him to play again this season, according to Wojnarowski.

Randle risked permanent damage if he returned to action without first undergoing surgery, two specialists recently warned him.

It’s quite possible that Randle won’t be ready at the start of next season. He will reevaluated in five months after the surgery, the team’s PR department tweets.

The Knicks are currently fifth in the Eastern Conference standings with a 44-31 record. They’ve lost their last three games and are also without their other starting forward, OG Anunoby, who has been sidelined by a persistent elbow injury.

New York coach Tom Thibodeau started a four-guard lineup against Miami on Tuesday with Josh Hart posing as a very undersized power forward.

Atlantic Notes: Lowry, Embiid, Anunoby, Watford

Since joining the Sixers as a buyout-market signing, Kyle Lowry has started 15 of the 18 games he has played for his hometown team, averaging 8.7 points and 4.8 assists per night while knocking down 39.0% of his three-point attempts.

As Eric Koreen of The Athletic writes, Lowry’s role in Philadelphia is among the biggest any buyout player in recent history has taken on, but that’s perhaps not surprising given the history between the veteran point guard and the Sixers’ head coach. Lowry and Nick Nurse were together for years in Toronto, including for the team’s 2019 championship, and Nurse still trusts the six-time All-Star at age 38.

“He’s a good organizer,” Nurse said. “I think that he’s really helped our defense get better and better just by (understanding) a lot of the things that we want to do as a coaching staff. He kind of makes sure they get done out there on the floor. He’s been really good in that sense.”

For his part, Lowry has been ready and willing to accept a lesser role than the one he played under Nurse in Toronto.

“I’m not the go-to guy on this team. I’m the guy that is going to help the go-to guys get better, get open looks,” Lowry said. “If I need to be a go-to guy, I can. Whatever I’m needed (for), I will be able to do.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Confirming reporting that Joel Embiid is very close to returning for the Sixers, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said during a SportsCenter appearance on Monday that Embiid’s knee has been “sound” during his ramp-up process and that he’s focused now on improving his conditioning (Twitter video link).
  • The Knicks have updated the designation for OG Anunoby‘s right elbow injury, referring to it as tendinopathy – also known as tennis elbow – after having previously listed him as out due to “injury management,” per Stefan Bondy and Michael Blinn of The New York Post. Shams Charania of The Athletic said during an appearance on FanDuel’s Run it Back show on Monday (Twitter video link) that Anunoby appears more likely than Julius Randle to return to action in the coming days or weeks.
  • After being in and out of the Nets‘ rotation for much of the season, forward Trendon Watford has been very productive off the bench for the past five games, averaging 15.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.6 assists with a .667/.500/.647 shooting line in 25.4 minutes per night, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The late-season surge may help convince Brooklyn to issue him a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent this offseason. “I just take advantage of the work I’ve been putting in in the dark,” Watford said. “And I felt like even early in the year when I felt like I should have been playing, even when I wasn’t, I was still just putting in the work, knowing opportunities were going to come.”

Knicks Notes: Randle, Anunoby, Robinson, Brunson

The Knicks played another game without Julius Randle and OG Anunoby on Sunday and they may be facing the prospect of heading into the playoffs short-handed, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Josh Hart sounded pessimistic about the possible return of either of his teammates, who have been sidelined for the better part of the last two months.

“I’m looking at it like this is the team we’re going to have,” Hart said. “I think that’s how we have to approach it, that those guys aren’t coming back and obviously we’ll be pleasantly surprised if they come back. I’m not in those medical conversations or anything like that … but we’ve got to approach every game and the end of this season that those guys aren’t coming back, and if they do, be pleasantly surprised.”

Randle hasn’t played since separating his shoulder while taking a charge in a January 27 game. Anunoby had a procedure performed on his right elbow and has only been available for three games since late January. Coach Tom Thibodeau didn’t provide many specifics about either player when reporters asked about their status on Sunday, Bontemps adds. He said Randle is continuing to work his way back, even though he still hasn’t been cleared for contact and his status seemingly hasn’t changed for several weeks.

“Just keep doing what he’s doing, day-to-day,” Thibodeau said. “You never know when it turns. That’s basically the approach we take. Rehab is really your game, so put everything you have into that. And eventually you’ll get there; you can’t get discouraged; just keep working at it. The other guys, they have a job to do.”

There’s more from New York:

  • Thibodeau said center Mitchell Robinson “tweaked” his left ankle Friday in San Antonio, which is why he was held out of Sunday’s game, per Peter Botte of The New York Post. Robinson, who has played twice since returning from surgery on the ankle, talked about the difficulty of coming back to the game after such a long layoff. “Timing is off. It’s brutal,” he said. “I think I was playing really well [before the injury]. Then sitting out the four months, it throws your whole timing off. But it is what it is. I’m not going to use that as an excuse. I can be better. I’m a basketball player. I’ve been in this six years.”
  • Thibodeau didn’t want to risk a fine by openly questioning a non-call Sunday on a late shot by Jalen Brunson, but he told reporters four times, “Write what you see,” according to Steve Popper of Newsday. The Knicks have been frustrated recently by a lack of calls for Brunson, who scored 30 points in the paint Friday but only went to the line six times. “Yeah, we send clips (to the league office), but it doesn’t seem to be doing any good,” Thibodeau said before Sunday’s game.
  • Without Randle and Anunoby, the Knicks need to find someone who can carry the scoring load when Brunson isn’t on the court, observes Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. In Friday’s overtime loss, New York was outscored by 24 points in the 9:41 that Brunson rested.