NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Julius Randle, Knicks' Coaching Search

Jake RillSenior Analyst IIIJune 7, 2020

New York Knicks head coach Mike Miller gestures to his players during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers in New York, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. The Lakers defeated the Knicks 100-92. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

The New York Knicks' offseason is set to feature a search for a new head coach, a potential top-five pick in the NBA draft and the possibility of several other big moves via either free agency or trades. And after seven consecutive losing seasons, the changes at the top and the additions of new talent could be welcome moves for the organization.

The Knicks haven't made the playoffs since the 2012-13 season, as they've since struggled to construct a core that can lead them back to success. With RJ Barrett, their first-round pick last year, and another top prospect likely joining the team this offseason, perhaps things could finally be moving in the right direction in New York.

Here's some of the recent buzz surrounding the Knicks, including a potential trade the team could make and the latest on the head-coaching search.

             

Is a Randle trade on the horizon?

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Kathy Willens/Associated Press

A lot of the focus on the Knicks this offseason could be on who the team might consider adding via the draft and/or free agency. But there's also a chance that they'll be looking to trade a player from their current roster, such as 25-year-old power forward Julius Randle.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks are "undoubtedly" open to trading Randle during the upcoming offseason. Berman noted that Randle would cost $4 million on the 2021 salary cap if New York doesn't exercise his team option after next season, and it's possible it will need all the space it can get to make a run at a top free agent in the potentially loaded 2021 class.

During his lone season with the New Orleans Pelicans in 2018-19, Randle set career highs in points per game (21.4) and three-point percentage (34.4 percent) while shooting 52.4 percent from the field in 73 games. He didn't fare as well in his first season in New York, averaging 19.5 points over 64 games while shooting 46 percent from the field and 27.7 percent from behind the arc. And that's not the only reason that a trade could be imminent.

"Randle's defense is below average, and it's been reported here his knack of over-dribbling frustrated some teammates, including RJ Barrett," Berman wrote.

If Randle is traded this offseason, he could be playing for his fourth different team in four seasons in 2020-21. He spent his first four NBA seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, who selected him with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2014 draft.

As Berman noted, the Knicks could pursue a power forward who is a more efficient three-point shooter, whether that's via the draft, free agency or a trade. Either way, it's beginning to seem more likely that New York's starting power forward next season will be a player who isn't Randle.

         

Could Miller stay with Knicks in different role?

In December, the Knicks fired head coach David Fizdale, who went 21-83 leading the team after getting hired prior to the 2018-19 season. Mike Miller, who was previously an assistant coach for New York, was named interim head coach and led the team to a 17-27 mark over the rest of the 2019-20 season.

According to Ian Begley of SNY, Miller is expected to interview with Knicks president Leon Rose "sometime in the coming days and weeks" for the team's head-coaching vacancy. However, if New York opts to hire somebody else, don't be surprised if Miller is offered a job in a different role, something that Begley said has a "good chance" of happening.

"There are definitely people in the organization who would like to see him offered an assistant-coaching gig or another job with the Knicks, because they have a great deal of respect for the way Miller handled himself not only as an interim head coach, but how he handled himself as the head coach of the Knicks' G League team," Begley said in a video for SNY. "They really feel like Miller did a great job steadying the ship after he took over."

Miller didn't have any NBA head-coaching experience before leading the Knicks in an interim role, but he's been a head coach at the college level, as he had stints at Texas State and Eastern Illinois. He was also the head coach of the Westchester Knicks from 2015-19, winning the NBA G League Coach of the Year Award for the 2017-18 season.

Although Miller is reportedly set to interview for the Knicks' head-coaching job, it may be more likely that they hire somebody else and offer Miller another role. Berman recently wrote that Tom Thibodeau is the clear front-runner for the gig, while Miller, Kenny Atkinson and Mike Woodson could be interviewed out of "courtesy."

It should be interesting to see how this situation develops for the Knicks over the summer, as well as whether Miller would consider going back to being an assistant coach after his 44-game stint leading the team.

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