Tom Thibodeau incredulous about Julius Randle Knicks trade rumor

Julius Randle’s intermittent frustration and unhappiness has been proven by several instances this season, including thumbs down gestures and profane quotes aimed at fans and multiple outbursts with officials.

This year was a far cry from the mutual love affair Randle enjoyed with New York a season ago when he was named All-Star for the first time in his career and the NBA’s most improved player, earning him a four-year mark. one-year contract extension worth $117 million.

The Post reported on Tuesday that there are some in the league who believe Randle acted in a “James Harden-esque manner,” suggesting he could try to force a trade in the off-season.

But Tom Thibodeau was incredulous when asked on Wednesday about a further claim by a local radio host earlier this week — which was framed as an “unconfirmed rumor” — that Randle had already said he wanted to leave after Monday’s win over Chicago in the Garden

“Are you serious? Are you serious? Come on,” said Thibodeau before Wednesday’s home game against Charlotte. “You know I’m not going to respond to anything like that anyway. Let’s be real.”

Tom Thibodeau
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Asked directly if he believes Randle “wants to be here”, Thibodeau replied: “Yes. So as a coach you coach the players you have. And you love them all. And I do. If you play for me, I love you. It really is that simple. The challenge for us is to get the best out of each other.”

Randle has been fined more than $100,000 this season by the league for several violations, including for saying “shut the fk up” in a January press conference for his use of a thumbs-down gesture to cheer fans on. during a game in the Garden.

Randle also threw the ball away and went straight into the locker room after Monday’s win. He scored five points on 1-for-9 shooting in the game, and fans had once again chanted for understudy Obi Toppin throughout the game.

Knicks
Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) against the Pistons.
USA TODAY Sports

“Look, every year is different. You face new and different challenges. There are a lot of things – this year didn’t go like last year,” said Thibodeau. “Hopefully we can end up like we did last year. Things change all the time. They can change quickly from very good to bad and they can also change very quickly from not as good as you’d like to great.

“Just keep going. Fits the bill I think. You get a lot of credit. You get a lot of debt. That’s how it works here. Stay focused, come in the next day and just keep working. Just keep working.”

Randle, who missed three games earlier this month with a quad injury, has been unavailable to speak to the media since Sunday in Detroit. The Knicks were also fined $25,000 at one point earlier this season for preventing Randle from addressing reporters.

“Maybe he’s confused and he’s done things that helped us win this match. So you look at things in totality,” said Thibodeau. “When the season is over, we will look at things in their entirety. We look at the things we did well, we look at the things we did that we didn’t like. And then we will try to make improvements in the summer.

“But this is underway. Where I want us to be is we’ve been playing good basketball since the All-Star break. Keep doing that. Let’s wait and see what happens.”

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