NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Julius Randle's Future, Tom Thibodeau and More

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistApril 13, 2020

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle reacts in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Friday, March 6, 2020, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

While an NBA team can dominate with just one or two superstars on its roster, the best squads are those who cohesively play as a team.

Perhaps this fact best explains why the New York Knicks have struggled to remain competitive this season. New York's record is frozen at 21-46, and things are unlikely to get a whole lot better if the 2019-20 season is resumed.

The Knicks are not completely devoid of talent. They have guys like Taj Gibson, Julius Randle and rookie RJ Barrett. What they don't have is a group that plays in harmony. Some players, for example, are unhappy with Randle and his penchant for "not distributing the ball quickly enough." according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.

There's a chance that eventually leads to Randle being ousted from New York.

The Knicks looked into trading Randle before hiring new team president Leon Rose. They could do so again in the offseason, per Berman:

"Despite his relationship with Randle, a CAA client, Rose is certainly open to either dealing Randle or not executing his contract option for the 2021-22 season, though in that case, he still would count for $4 million on the salary cap. Leading into the Feb. 6 trade deadline, the Knicks were willing to move Randle and had talks with Charlotte."

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Teams like the Charlotte Hornets will likely show interest in the Kentucky product if he is made available. Randle has averaged 19.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists thus far this season. Those are good numbers. However, they won't be good enough for the Knicks if Randle continues to hurt the team's chemistry.

    

Thibodeau Confident He'll Be Coaching Next Season

Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

If Randle does return to the Knicks, there's a chance that he'll be led by veteran coach Tom Thibodeau. The 2011 NBA Coach of the Year believes he will have a job next season, and New York could be a destination.

According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, Thibodeau is already in the process of narrowing his options:

"Thibodeau is confident he'll get a job next season and has even been asking around the league for advice on picking the best opportunity, according to sources. The Knicks, Nets and Rockets are expected to have the three highest-profile coaching gigs available. Keep an eye on the Pelicans, Bulls and Hawks."

Thibodeau most recently coached the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he lasted just under three seasons before being fired 40 games into the 2019 campaign. While two of his three seasons there were losing ones, he did help take Minnesota to the postseason in 2018.

While the New York Knicks will be an option for Thibodeau, it's unlikely to be the most enticing one, unless the Knicks also take significant steps to revamp their roster.

      

The Mitchell-Gobert Relationship Might Be Repairable After All

When it was announced that Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, the NBA suspended play shortly after. Donovan Mitchell later confirmed he also contracted the virus.

The relationship between the two teammates has reportedly become strained, a fact recently documented by The Athletic's Shams Charania, Sam Amick and Tony Jones.

"It doesn't appear salvageable," one source told The Athletic.

The issue, according to The Athletic report, is that Mitchell is not happy with Gobert's initially cavalier attitude towards the disease.

Yet the relationship between the two may not be as dire as previously indicated. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports and TNT, Mitchell and Gobert spoke over the weekend and the conversation went well:

While there's still likely a long way to go—and there's no guarantee of when the Jazz will be back on the court—there appears to be a real chance that Gobert and Mitchell will be able to function as teammates once again.

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